Congress is poised to pass yet another aid package for the states, this time in the amount of $26 billion. The intent is to help states avert teacher layoffs, but maybe we should ask why? E.J. McMahon wonders why New York needs a $600 million earmark out of this pot for K-12 education when:
’s spending of $17,173 per pupil as of 2007-08 was the highest of any state, 67 percent above the national average, according to the latest data from the Census Bureau. New York
• Between 2000-01 and 2008-09, New York schools added 14,746 teachers and 8,655 non-teaching professionals–even as enrollment was dropping by 121,280 pupils.
• Confronted with an average 5 percent state aid cut, school districts tapped their (often sizable) reserves, trimmed programs and held down tax increases in their proposed 2010-11 budgets. As a result, 92 percent of school budgets were approved by voters in May. The bottom line: for the most part, schools and the public signalled they could live with the sort of aid reduction that stimulus fans have portrayed as destructive and intolerable.