« Expect About $105 Billion for Education in Virus Deal, D.C. 'Insiders' Tell Survey | Main | Judge Issues Blistering Injunction Against Betsy DeVos' Coronavirus Aid Rule »

Public Support for More School Spending is Starting to Wane

In the two years leading up to the coronavirus pandemic, public support for school spending surged and K-12 leaders exploited the moment: Districts placed levy increases on the ballot and teachers demanded pay raises.

That support now is starting to dip, according to a recently released survey by the journal Education Next. That's bad news for districts that will need local property owners to keep cash flowing as state revenue crashes.  

Less than half of the respondents this year felt like school spending should increase, though that's still a record high, according to the survey.

During the last recession, public support had dipped more than 20 percentage points to below 50 percent as unmployment increased and Republicans and Democrats alike lashed out at politicians for high tax rates. 

But over the years, it bounced back as teachers began to complain publicly about stagnant pay and several large urban districts fell into fiscal distress as state revenue failed to keep pace with increased costs. 

The pandemic has sent the unemployment rate skyrocketing again, and many families are on the brink of being evicted from their homes as congressional relief expires. 

Some community activists are calling for districts such as Cleveland and Denver to take property tax increase measures off this fall's ballot, considering the state of the economy. Property taxes are already disproportionately higher in low-income, majority Black and Latino communities, though their local districts are the ones that will lose the most amount of state aid in the coming years as a result of recession-driven cutbacks.

Despite the pandemic, Milwaukee earlier this year managed to get a historic property tax increase passed amid surging support for public schools. 

Education Next's poll, which asks the public several questions about their perceptions of public schools, found that Democratic, Black, and Latino respondents are more likely to back a boost in funding than are Republican and white respondents.

Read about the poll's other findings here.


Don't miss another Politics K-12 post. Sign up here to get news alerts in your email inbox.

Follow us on Twitter @PoliticsK12And follow the Politics K-12 reporters @EvieBlad @Daarel and @AndrewUjifusa

 

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog

Advertisement

Most Viewed on Education Week

Categories

Archives

Recent Comments