Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


UW study discovers trend of less funding for K-12 education

A University of Wisconsin professor’s recent research found that 35 states, which have 75 percent of all public school students, have contributed less of their tax dollars to K-12 education spending in the last two years than previously.

Andrew Reschovsky, UW professor of applied economics and public affairs, released the study that says on a national level, state contribution to public education has shrunk about 4 percent, after being adjusted for inflation and rising costs of education.

“Like many other things, education costs go up,” Reschovsky said.


Drops in state tax revenue due to the recession is the cause of less money going to education, he said.

“Much of many state budgets goes to education,” he said.

State education sometimes accounts for about half of spending. Since education is such a big portion of where tax revenue goes, it is almost expected that education might take a hit, he said.

“Wisconsin’s a good example,” Reschovsky said.

Wisconsin lost about 1.9 percent of state support for public schools.

The state is already a highly taxed state, and Gov. Jim Doyle’s commitment to not raising taxes does not generate more funds, he said. Many states also have tax laws prohibiting large increases in local property taxes, which are the other major source for school funding.

“In general, there were fewer tax increases than in past recessions,” Reschovsky said.

He did not say this was a bad thing, though.

UW chemistry professor Bassam Shakhashiri, who believes the education system should not experience cuts, said the public must elect officials who do a better job at allocating money.

“Voting for [local school-board and state Legislature elections] is a very important civic responsibility, especially for students,” Shakhashiri said.

Shakhashiri urges his chemistry students to vote and intends to ask how many of his pupils participated in Tuesday’s local elections.

Shakhashiri’s syllabus dedicates a whole page to voting, including where students can find Madison voting information.

Reschovsky also expressed the need for a change in funding.

“We do [need] to reform the way we fund education in Wisconsin,” he said. “If, in fact, we spend less in education … it’s safe to say it will have a negative economic effect.”

Both professors said the effects would not seen immediately, but in years to come.

“Cuts in education will effect both the quality and quantity of education,” Shakhashiri said.

Both noted the importance of the controversial No Child Left Behind Act, which demands a rise in national academic standards, but they recognized its flaws.

“Having higher standards are a good thing,” Reschovsky said. “You can’t cap funding, and you can’t demand more of your schools. Something’s going to break.”

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