Itís a little known fact that when it comes to the funding of our schools, the U.S. Government
contributes about 10 cents to every dollar spent on K-12 education Ė
less than the majority of countries in the world. And it wasnít until
1965, when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Elementary and Secondary
Education Act as part of his War on Poverty, that the federal government
created a lasting program to fund K-12 education.
So where does the bulk of the money for our 14,000 public elementary and
secondary school districts schools come from? State and local
governments. According to the National Center for Education Statistics,
state and local funding accounts for approximately 93 percent of
Whatís the source of these funds? In most states, itís sales and income
taxes (both corporate and personal). But on a local level, these funds
usually come from property taxes, which are set by the school board,
local officials or citizens. Itís this system that causes the most
dramatic differences between states, and even within districts.
Depending on the property wealth of a community, its schools might boast
gleaming buildings and equipment, or they might be dilapidated Ė
struggling with the burden of outdated equipment and unpaid bills.