Giving Compass' Take:

• Sean Cavanagh breaks down the spending increases of 38 states that increased their education funding for 2019 thanks to increasing tax revenues. 

• How will economic volatility impact education funding in the coming years? How can philanthropy work to stabilize education funding in the event of economic downturns? 

• Learn about giving in challenging times

The vast majority of states are spending more on K-12 education this academic year, as a strong economy and rising tax revenues give governors and lawmakers more breathing room than they had during the dire years of the Great Recession.

A new report released by the National Association of State Budget Officers finds that total state general fund spending for fiscal 2019–which in most states began in July and covers the ongoing school year–rose by 4.3 percent over fiscal 2018.

Those spending increases have been made possible in part by an expected 2.1 percent rise in total state tax revenue, to $868.4 billion, fueled by gains in income, corporate, sales, and other taxes, the association’s report says. While those numbers don’t match last year’s striking leap in state revenues — when they jumped 6.4 percent — it’s clear a new pool of money is brightening the conditions for state spending.

For education, that’s a good thing. Overall, 38 states have budgeted increases in spending on K-12 education in fiscal 2019, and just five have put in place cuts.

The association also breaks out the overall size of recent K-12 state spending increases, compared with other parts of the budget. In fiscal 2019, states increased overall K-12 spending by $10.9 billion over the previous year; in fiscal 2018, it rose by just $8.6 billion. The size of spending hikes were smaller in higher education: Budgets in that area rose by $3 billion in fiscal 2019 and $1.3 billion the previous year.

For context: states spent an estimated $294.8 billion on K-12 in their general funds in fiscal 2018, the association says.

The biggest leap in overall state spending occurred in the “all other” funds category, which includes things like states’ pension fund obligations, debt service, and contributions to their reserve funds. In fiscal 2018, state spending in those areas declined by $1.1 billion, but soared by $16.3 billion in fiscal 2019.

Read the full article about changes in education spending for 2019 by Sean Cavanagh at Edweek Market Brief.