Long-term debt spending on education has increased in nearly every state, with Illinois at the top of the list.
The Reason Foundation published a Spotlight on K-12 education spending showing a national increase in income per student, among other findings.
According to the study, since 2002, Illinois has increased its spending on benefits by 174.7%. Only two states, Hawaii and Pennsylvania, recorded larger increases.
Political analyst Christian Barnard said teachers’ pensions, health insurance, including for retirees, and other expenses accounted for a large part of the increase.
“When you look at the spending data, what’s interesting is to see where that extra money is going, and actually on training and support services, you see that the benefits take up most of the money. the increase in those many categories, ”Barnard said.
Many also point to the costs of administering the state. Illinois was the only state to spend more than $ 1 billion on general administration at the district level in 2018.
Using data from the Census Bureau, the study found that inflation-adjusted national incomes from Kindergarten to Grade 12 increased by almost 24%, or $ 3,005 per student, between 2002 and 2019. Income per student increased in all but two states during this period, in the North. Caroline and Idaho.
In 2019, State dollars still made up the largest portion of total K-12 funding at 46.7%. The breakdown is expected to change when more recent data becomes available due to federal stimulus dollars sent to states during the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are several categories of education spending, but the two most important are elementary and secondary program spending and capital spending. In total, over 87% of dollars spent on education are spent on elementary-secondary programs.
Barnard said the study can help state policymakers and other stakeholders make informed policy decisions that best serve students.
“I think there has to be a lot of focus on why there isn’t more money for classrooms and I think benefit spending needs to be at the center of that,” Barnard said.