At a time when House Republicans are promising to cut billions of dollars from federally funded programs, states are feeling the pain. When asked in a recent survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures to list their top three fiscal concerns for the 2011 legislative session, state legislative fiscal directors in 13 states listed education. Only the budget (31 states) and health care/Medicaid issues (18 states) were cited by more states.
NCSL Fiscal Brief: Top Fiscal Issues for 2011 Legislative Sessions found that the education issues states are most concerned with are adequate funding levels, school finance formulas and increased student enrollment. For example, Connecticut responded that education funding in the state remained flat for the last two years even though stimulus money was available. With stimulus funding no longer available in FY 2012, there will be no chance of accessing those additional funds, at a time when demand will be higher.
A table appended to the report breaks down which three areas each of the 47 states responding to the survey listed as top priorities.