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School Cuts Among Deepest in Nation

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According to one national think tank, New Mexico’s per-pupil cuts to education were the deepest in the nation last year.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which describes itself as a nonpartisan research and policy institute, examined cuts in all 50 states, then ranked them in various ways. When the center compared per-pupil cuts in inflation-adjusted dollars, New Mexico’s cuts were the deepest, at $707 less per child in the current year than last year.

When other measures were used, New Mexico’s situation doesn’t seem as dire. In looking at which states had the deepest percentage cut to per-pupil spending between last year and this year, New Mexico’s 7.9 percent cut ranked 10th in the nation. Illinois topped that list with a 12.9 percent reduction, according to the center.

The center also examined cuts over time, looking at per-pupil budget changes between fiscal 2008 and fiscal 2012. Over that span, New Mexico’s cuts are still among the worst in the nation, according to the center. When measured in inflation-adjusted dollars, New Mexico has cut $1,174 per pupil in the past four years. That is the third-deepest cut in the nation, behind California and Hawaii.

Once again, the cut is not as dire when measured as a percentage. New Mexico comes in 11th when measuring the percentage of per-pupil spending cut over the past four years. The center calculated that percentage at 12.4 percent for New Mexico. The high is 24.1 percent for South Carolina.

The center compared the amount of funding that flowed through states’ major education funding formulas, and included education funding from the federal stimulus fund.
— This article appeared on page A3 of the Albuquerque Journal

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