Corroding the Classroom: Republican Gubernatorial Candidates’ Devastating Cuts to Education

In key gubernatorial races across the country, education funding has become a major issue — and that’s bad news for Republicans.

In 2010, a slew of GOP candidates rode a tea party wave to governorships, promising massive budget overhauls that would hand tax cuts to the wealthy and cut other programs to pay for them. Well they delivered on those promises, and one after the next gutted education funding as they reshaped their states in the tea party mold. Now they’re reaping what they’ve sown.

From Rick Scott and Scott Walker to Sam Brownback, Tom Corbett and more, Republican governors are getting slammed for slashing funds for schools, dealing a blow to their respective reelection bids, while prospective governors like Doug Ducey have promised to do the same. Locked in tight races, these Tea Party governors are floundering to explain their draconian cuts to concerned constituents by twisting numbers and distorting their records.

But there is no explaining away the truth: these governors put tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations ahead of children’s education, and families in their states are paying the price.


Walker Education Cuts

2011: Walker Cut $792 Million In State Aid To Education. According to PolitiFact, “Walker’s $792 million cut was much larger in raw dollars than the $284 million cut in 2009, and as a percentage — 7.4 percent vs. 2.6 percent. In the first year under Walker’s budget, nearly all districts lost aid, and the median decrease was 9.9 percent, according to the state Department of Public Instruction.” [PolitiFact, 2/19/12]

  • Cut Amounted To A 7.4% Drop In State Aid. According to PolitiFact, “By comparison, the most-publicized cut in Walker’s budget — $792 million in state aid to local school districts — amounted to a 7.4 percent cut.” [PolitiFact, 5/10/12]

PolitiFact: True That Walker “Made The Biggest Cuts To Education In Wisconsin’s History”. According to PolitiFact, “State Democratic Party claim: The party sought to undercut Walker’s announcement on the surplus and tax cuts. It pointed out in a news release during his speech that Walker’s first budget cut nearly one billion dollars from public schools and our technical college system that provides critical job training programs. ‘That number is on target, we said in 2012 when rating True former gubernatorial candidate Kathleen Falk’s statement that Walker had made the biggest cuts to education in our state’s history.’” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 1/23/14]


Tomah Journal Editorial Attacked Walker’s “Reckless Cuts In Traditional Public Education,” Said “Walker’s Proposal Is More Than Just Trying To Balance The State Budget; It Represents An Ideological Crusade Against Public Education”   According to an editorial published by the Tomah Journal, “[Walker is] proposing more money for private schools, charter schools and on-line schools while making deep and reckless cuts in traditional public education — a model that works very well outside of Milwaukee. Tomah, for example, is facing a $2.1 million deficit, only $1.2 million of which can be bridged by substantial cuts in employee benefits. That leaves Tomah to cut $900,000 from programs that significantly benefit Tomah students. There is no doubt public education had to absorb some cuts to balance the state budget and that some of those cuts would come from pension and health benefits from teachers and staff. But those cuts could be less draconian without Walker’s privatization agenda. Walker’s proposal is more than just trying to balance the state budget; it represents an ideological crusade against public education.” [Tomah Journal – Editorial, 4/14/11]

Green Bay Superintendent Greg Maass: Walker’s Budget Was A “Dagger In The Heart Of Public Education.” According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “A ‘dagger,’ said the well-meaning man, ‘in the heart of public education.’ That man, who superintends Green Bay’s public school system, was reacting to word that Gov. Scott Walker proposed letting parents statewide have the same option poor Milwaukeeans now have – to take their state school aid to a private school, if they choose it. Parents with options: That was the violence that Greg Maass, that superintendent, was talking about. I don’t mean to single out Maass. He colorfully phrased the apocalyptic view that many others had toward Walker’s idea. A writer for The Progressive, the left-wing Madison magazine that figures we peaked in about 1938, tiresomely said it was ‘war on education.’ Right: To increase options is to war on education. Actually, though, that is the heart of the complaint of the public school establishment. Giving families more control over where they can get a publicly funded education necessarily means less control for those in charge of what had been the only place you could get one.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 5/15/11]

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editorial: Walker Cut “Shared Revenue To Schools And Local Governments And Then Made Up For Much Of The Difference By Cutting Benefits And Take-Home Pay For Teachers.” According to an editorial published by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel “Walker plugged the last big budget gap — more than $3 billion — by reducing shared revenue to schools and local governments and then made up for much of the difference by cutting benefits and take-home pay for teachers, state workers and other public employees. The vehicle for those changes — the misguided Act 10 — sparked weeks of protests at the state Capitol and threw the state’s politics into polarizing turmoil.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – Editorial, 9/10/14]


Kasich Education Cuts

2011: Kasich Proposed To Cut A Total Of Nearly $2 Billion In State Education Aid For 2012 And 2013. According to Plain Dealer, “Local governments and schools districts are hit hard, facing nearly $2 billion less in total payments from the state in 2012 and 2013 under Gov. John Kasich’s budget proposal, according to details released shortly after noon. The Local Government Fund is cut by $555 million in the $120 billion, two-year budget which amounts to a 25 percent cut in the first year and a 50 percent cut in the second year. Additionally, the Kasich budget makes tax policy changes raiding a trio of reimbursement fund payments that local governments and schools receive, costing the entities roughly $1.3 billion.” [Plain Dealer, 3/15/11]

2011: Kasich Signed Budget With Nearly $2 Billion In Cuts To Schools And Local Governments. According to Plain Dealer, “Gov. John Kasich put the finishing touches on the state budget Thursday, using his veto power to carve out several provisions from the bill before signing it into law. Kasich’s vetoes did not drastically alter the two-year spending plan, but they will play a role in the future sale of six Ohio prisons, the state’s fight against childhood obesity and the Ohio Lottery Commission’s spending. In all, the Republican governor vetoed seven items from the $112 billion state budget that is packed with policy changes and is $2 billion lighter because of cuts to schools and local governments.” [Plain Dealer, 6/30/11]

2013: Kasich Budget Repealed A 12.5 Percent Property Tax Levy, Which Made Bonds Issued By School Districts More Expensive. According to Northeast Ohio Media Group, “Ohio’s next two-year budget is a done deal. Gov. John Kasich on Sunday evening signed controversial House Bill 59, a nearly $62 billion plan that attempts to spur economic growth while restricting reproductive rights. […] After months of toiling on the budget, the Republican-controlled legislature decided to ditch the 12.5 percent property tax rollback for new taxes, which could make new school levies harder to sell to voters. For example, without the rollback, last year’s 15-mill Cleveland school levy would have cost $263 a year instead of $230 for the owner of a $50,000 home.” [Northeast Ohio Media Group, 6/30/13]


Plain Dealer Editorial: Kasich’s 2013 Budget “Went Astray” By Failing To Restore Education Cuts. According to Plain Dealer – Editorial, “School funding in the latest two-year Ohio budget that Gov. John Kasich signed into law a week ago went astray in many ways: First, although it increased funding slightly for a number of districts, it failed to restore earlier cuts or to offer an equitable way to pay for the needs of Ohio’s poorer schools. Second, last-minute legislative machinations made matters worse.” [Plain Dealer – Editorial, 7/6/13]

Plain Dealer Editorial: Kasich’s 2013 Budget Ended The Property Tax Levy, Which Effectively Transferred Tax Money From Localities To The State. According to Plain Dealer – Editorial, “The budget also included a provision to get rid of a 12.5 percent state-subsidized discount on future local property tax issues, which could lead to higher and more unpopular school levies. That change — part of a tax package Republicans drafted behind closed doors at the 11th hour — represents an effective transfer of tax money from local schools and communities to the state.” [Plain Dealer – Editorial, 7/6/13]


Corbett Education Cuts

2011 To 2012 Budget: Corbett Cut $1 Billion In Education Funding. According to the Delco Times, “Corbett infamously slashed public education funding by $1 billion in 2011 to help close an anticipated $4.2 billion deficit.” [Delco Times, 2/2/14]

2012 To 2013 Budget: Corbett Withheld $45 Million In Federal Funding And Pursued $104 Million In Concessions. According to Huffington Post, “Gov. Tom Corbett (R) was still withholding $45 million in federal money as he sought $104 million in concessions, including a massive pay cut, from the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers union.” [Huffington Post, 9/10/13]

2013 To 2014 Budget: Corbett’s Budget Included Education Funding Increases. According to a press release from the Pennsylvania Office of the Governor, obtained via Herald Online, “Corbett’s budget provides record education funding and increases funding in early childhood intervention, early learning, childcare subsidies and health insurance enrollment efforts.” [Herald Online, 7/1/13]

  • Corbett’s Education Funding Was Labeled As Insufficient. According to Meadville Tribune, “But Democrats and school officials argue that the funding is insufficient to cover rising costs for things like pensions and health care. ‘The average school district increase is 2.3 percent. However, the increase ranges by school district from as high as 22.5 percent to as low as 0.7 percent,’ said Rep. Joseph Markosek of Allegheny County, who is the Democratic chairman of the House appropriations committee.” [Meadville Tribune, 7/2/13]
  • Philadelphia School District Faced $304 Million Deficit And 20% Total Staff Layoffs. According to Take Part, “The Philadelphia School District is in major chaos. It is one of the largest districts in the country, and is also one of the most bankrupt. Currently, it is facing a $304 million deficit and 20 percent of the total staff has been laid off.” [Take Part, 7/8/13]

2014 To 2015 Budget: Corbett Wanted To Allocate An Additional $240 Million To Education Block Grants. According to the Patriot-News, “Gov. Tom Corbett wants the state to spend an extra $240 million on education block grants next year.” [Patriot-News, 3/31/14]

  • Patriot-News: Corbett’s Proposed $240 Covered “Innovations, Like Tutoring Or Curriculum Changes.” According to the Patriot-News, “The block grant program Corbett proposed in his budget would give districts money for innovations, like tutoring or curriculum changes.” [Patriot-News, 3/31/14]
  • Pennsylvania Owed Its School Districts $1.7 Billion For Work That Was Fully Or Partially Approved. According to the Patriot-News, “Pennsylvania owes districts $1.7 billion for work that has been fully or partially approved. Many of those projects began during the great recession. The backlog is so bad, the state placed a moratorium on districts applying to join the program two years ago. Right now, the moratorium is likely to continue for at least another year.” [Patriot-News, 3/31/14]
  • Without Reimbursements, School Districts Made Cuts, Shifted Funds, And Increased Taxes To Cover Costs. According to the Patriot-News, “Across the state, districts are having to pay debt service they had been told the state would cover. In the Southern York School District, this has led to cutting programs. In Titusville, it meant dipping into the fund balance meant for pension payments. In Mt. Lebanon, a small Allegheny County district that will be owed $1.8 million by the end of the fiscal year, it will mean a .25 mil tax increase.” [Patriot-News, 3/31/14]


Public Interest Law Center Of Philadelphia Filed A Law Suit On Behalf Of Parents Who Accused The PA Department Of Education Of Failing To Investigate Poor School Conditions. According to, “Seven parents have accused the state Department of Education of failing to investigate poor conditions at Philadelphia public schools. The claims are contained in a lawsuit filed yesterday by the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia on behalf of the parents and the local organization Parents United for Public Education. The suit says that 825 complaints were submitted to the department last school year regarding inadequate conditions.” [, 9/10/14]

Pennsylvania State Education Association Released A Report Claiming Poor School Districts Fared Worse Than Wealthy Ones In State Funding And Student Performance. According to Post-Gazette, “A report from Pennsylvania’s largest teachers union says poor school districts have fared worse than wealthy ones in state funding and student performance. The Pennsylvania State Education Association has led criticism of Republican Gov. Tom Corbett over funding cuts that schools received in the 2011-12 year, after the expiration of federal stimulus funding that had propped up school spending for two years.” [Post-Gazette, 8/28/14]

  • Pennsylvania State Education Association President, Mike Crossey, Blamed Corbett’s Cuts To The Education Budget For Fiscal Crisis Facing Schools. According to Public News Service, “At issue is what the Pennsylvania State Education Association says is a fiscal crisis facing schools. PSEA President Mike Crossey traced the problem to the education cuts pushed by Governor Tom Corbett since he took office. ‘That’s three years that they’re short almost a billion dollars every year,’ the teachers’ union leader said. ‘If you look at that cumulatively, they’re several billion dollars in the hole. You know, then he turns around and he says schools are failing.’” [Public News Service, 8/20/13]

Sen. Mike Stack Called On Corbett To Restore Slashed Higher Education Funding. According to Philadelphia News, “Sen. Mike Stack joined the Association of Pennsylvania State College & University Faculties today to demand that Gov. Tom Corbett fully restore the funding slashed from the 14 state-owned universities. […] ‘Ever since this governor has been in Harrisburg, he’s targeted Pennsylvania’s 14 great universities as the place to balance his budget at the expense of families,’ Stack said. ‘It is wrong. It has always been wrong, and I’m pleased to lend my voice and support to APSCUF to stop this trend in its tracks.’” [Philadelphia News, 10/24/13]

State Sen. Vincent Hughes (D., Philadelphia): “If Anybody Even Thinks About Voting For Tom Corbett, Get Out Of The Room. . . . He’s The One Who Caused This Hell We’re Going Through Right Now.” According to, “State Sen. Vincent Hughes (D., Phila.) […] said audience members should ask every candidate who says he or she wants to replace Corbett as governor: ‘What the X are you going to do about this issue, all right? You can have any formula you want, but if you put no money into it, it doesn’t work.’ Hughes added: ‘If anybody even thinks about voting for Tom Corbett, get out of the room. […] He’s the one who caused this hell we’re going through right now.’” [, 10/10/13]

Daily Review: During His Scranton Speech, Obama Indirectly Criticized Corbett For Making Education Funding Cuts. According to the Daily Review, “Arguing a higher education is more important than ever to good-paying jobs, President Barack Obama laid out his plan to reduce college costs and help students manage their college debt while indirectly chiding Gov. Tom Corbett for ‘brutal cuts’ to education. ‘Higher education is not a luxury, it’s an economic necessity and every American should be able to afford it,’ Obama [stated].” [Daily Review, 8/24/13]


LePage Education Cuts

December, 2012: LePage Cut K-12 Spending By $12.4 Million. According to Bangor Daily News, “The proposed biennial budget seeks to fund K-12 public schools for the next two years at the same level as the current year on the heels of a $12.4 million cut that LePage ordered in late December to balance the current year budget. That means General Purpose Aid will remain at about $895 million in each of the next two years.” [Bangor Daily News, 1/11/13]

LePage’s 2013 Biennial Budget Kept Education Funding Flat, Which Meant No Increases For Inflation Or Cost Of Living. According to Bangor Daily News, “The proposed biennial budget seeks to fund K-12 public schools for the next two years at the same level as the current year on the heels of a $12.4 million cut that LePage ordered in late December to balance the current year budget. That means General Purpose Aid will remain at about $895 million in each of the next two years.” [Bangor Daily News, 1/11/13]

2013 Budget Funded 47 Percent Of The Total Cost Of Education, Even Though State Education Spending Mandated That The Figure Would Be 55 Percent. According to Portland Press Herald, “School districts can expect additional funding over the next two years. The result is that the state will fund 47 percent of the total cost of education, closer to the voter-approved mandate of 55 percent.” [Portland Press Herald, 6/26/13]

2013 Budget Required Municipalities To Pay $29 Million In Teachers’ Pensions. According to Portland Press Herald, “The budget includes LePage’s plan to shift $29 million in teachers’ retirement costs from the state to school districts. The shift goes into effect July 1.” [Portland Press Herald, 6/26/13]

2013 Budget Cut Revenue Sharing To Maine Municipalities By $75 Million; LePage Originally Proposed To Cut Revenue Sharing By $200 Million. According to Portland Press Herald, “The budget reduces revenue sharing to Maine cities and towns by $75 million. Gov. Paul LePage proposed cutting $200 million but the Legislature restored $125 million of that. The reduction still will force property-tax increases or service reductions in many Maine communities.” [Portland Press Herald, 6/26/13]

  • LePage’s 2013 Biennial Budget Proposed To Require School Districts To Pay For 50 Percent Of Teachers’ Pensions, Up From 0 Percent, Which Would Cost Local Municipalities $14 Million Per Year. According to Bangor Daily News, “The budget also includes a proposal to have school districts statewide pay for 50 percent of present and future teacher retirement contributions. Currently, state government pays 100 percent of teacher retirement contributions to the Maine Public Employees Retirement System. Bowen said that change will cost local municipalities a total of about $14 million a year, though the impact on individual towns will vary based on a formula that involves a range of factors including property values. It means that richer school departments will be expected to pay a higher percentage of teacher retirement costs, while poorer ones will pay less.” [Bangor Daily News, 1/11/13]

October, 2013: LePage Administration Recommended Cutting The Education Budget By $9.5 Million. According to Portland Press Herald, “Gov. Paul LePage’s government efficiency agency is recommending a $9.5 million cut in education funding in order to balance the state’s current two-year budget. The reduction must be approved by the Legislature, an uncertain outcome but one that could ramp up debate between the governor and legislative Democrats, who control the House and Senate. […] The agency was created in 2012 and tasked with finding budget savings throughout state government. Lawmakers in June ordered the agency to find $33.7 million in administrative cuts in state government as part of balancing the state’s two-year budget.” [Portland Press Herald, 10/2/13]


Portland Press Herald: Under LePage, State Education Aid To Schools Stagnated, Forcing Communities To Raise Taxes And Cut Spending To Adequately Fund Education. According to Portland Press Herald – Editorial, “While the governor is right that the state’s share of the total education budget increased slightly from the last year of the Baldacci administration to the first year of his, he ignores two important factors: […] The second fact left out of LePage campaign literature is that the cost of education has not stood still during his years in office. As state aid to schools stagnated at artificially low levels, it was up to communities to raise taxes and cut services, in effect subsidizing an income tax cut with cuts that hurt middle-class and poor families.” [Portland Press Herald – Editorial, 1/4/14]

Portland Press Herald: In 2013, State Education Aid Paid For 42 Percent Of State Education Spending, Despite Law Requiring State Aid To Compose 55 Percent Of Spending. According to Portland Press Herald – Editorial, “Another way to express this trend is by looking at how close the state has come to funding education at the 55 percent required by law. According to a study commissioned by the Legislature, the state share hovered between 50 percent and 53 percent from 2006 to the 2008-2009 school year. It has declined steadily ever since, dropping to 42 percent last year.” [Portland Press Herald – Editorial, 1/4/14]

Maine Policy Review Study Found That School Districts Had To Spend More As State Aid Decreased. According to Portland Press Herald – Editorial, “LePage supporters argue that local school districts should do their part to control spending, but according to a study by Thomas College professor Emily Shaw in the Maine Policy Review, school districts have had to spend more as state support has declined.” [Portland Press Herald – Editorial, 1/4/14]


Scott Education Cuts

Scott’s Education Budget Provided $177 Less Per Student Than The Florida Budget Did In 2007-2008. According to the Tampa Tribune, “But critics, including leading Florida Democrats, say the plan falls short of any historic claims in the measurement that matters most and the one used to quickly compare complex education budgets across years and states: per-student spending. By this measure, Scott’s proposal of $6,949 is still below the 2007-08 high of $7,126. Even total state spending would fall short of that truly historic year by $1.5 billion when adjusted for inflation. [Tampa Tribune, 2/10/14]

Between 2010-11 And 2011-12 Budget Years, Florida’s Education Funding Dropped By $1.6 Billion. According to Politifact Florida, “As Scott approached his first legislative session in 2011, he unveiled a budget proposal at a tea party rally that included steep spending cuts, including to education. Ultimately, the Republican-led Legislature backed some of those cuts. Multiple news articles described the cuts to K-12 education at more than $1 billion — and many articles used that $1.3 billion figure cited by Crist…. Between 2010-11 and 2011-12, the state cut its own contribution to education funding by about $200 million, but it also reduced the local contribution by $572 million. Add in the lost federal stimulus money of $870 million, and we get $1.6 billion in funding reductions.” [Politifact Florida, 11/5/13]

Scott Approved Cuts To Bright Future Scholarships. According to The Ledger, “Florida students seeking college degrees during these difficult economic times now face a 20 percent drop in Bright Futures scholarship money and predicted tuition hikes.  Budget cuts passed by the Legislature earlier this month and approved by Gov. Rick Scott last week slashed the amount students can receive from Bright Futures, a lottery-funded scholarship program.  The average award last year at four-year public universities was about $5,000. The decrease likely will average about $500 less next year. The exact amounts available will not be known until this summer, according to the state.” [The Ledger, 5/28/11]

Rick Scott Approved Tuition Hikes Of 8% And 5% At Florida Colleges In 2011 And 2012. According to the Tampa Bay Times, “While Scott proudly vetoed a 3 percent tuition hike last month, his 2011 budget included an 8 percent hike for students, at a cost of roughly $50 million. Scott also approved a 5 percent tuition increase for state colleges in 2012, saying that ‘colleges remain best positioned to weigh the needs of their institutions against the burden of increased student costs.’” [Tampa Bay Times, 5/31/13]


Tampa Bay Times Editorial: Scott’s Education Budget Was “Shortsighted;” Scott Vetoed A 3% Tuition Increase For State Colleges And Universities But Made Promises To School Presidents Which Were “Inappropriate.” According to a Tampa Bay Times editorial, “Gov. Rick Scott signed into law on Monday a $74.1 billion state budget for 2013-14 that makes few waves thanks to an improving economy and a predictable list of vetoes totaling $368 million. Florida finally has returned to at least modestly investing in education and the environment. But Scott’s veto of a 3 percent tuition increase for state colleges and universities is shortsighted, and his clumsy effort to extort promises from university presidents and others is inappropriate.” [Tampa Bay Times – Editorial, 5/21/13]

  • Scott Boasted About A $300 Million Increase In Funding The State’s University System But Had Opposed The Same Increase The Previous Year. According to the Tampa Bay Times, “On Monday, Scott boasted about a $300 million increase in funding for the state university system – just a year after leading the charge to cut the same amount even as he backed the outrageous creation of the state’s 12th university, Florida Polytechnic, from the University of South Florida’s Lakeland campus.” [Tampa Bay Times – Editorial, 5/21/13]
  • Scott Vetoed Innovative Education Programs. According to the Tampa Bay Times, “That’s not to say next year’s reinvestment in education isn’t welcome. There is roughly $1 billion more for public schools, including $480 million for long-delayed teacher pay raises that Scott championed. But disappointingly, for a second year, the governor vetoed $3 million to expand a proven program to teach algebra to middle school students started by SRI International in Pinellas County – the very kind of innovation the state could use to improve math results.” [Tampa Bay Times – Editorial, 5/21/13]

Naples Daily News Editorial: Scott Was A “Divider Rather Than A Consensus-Builder” On Education Issues. According to a Naples Daily News editorial, “Yet, on some issues, such as education and health care, Scott has been a divider rather than a consensus-builder, whether due to the nature of the issues or his handling of them.” [Naples Daily News – Editorial, 3/3/13]

Naples Daily News Editorial: Education Was A “Minefield” For Scott; He Angered Teachers When He Instituted Merit Pay And Mandates That They Contribute To Their Pension Plans. According to a Naples Daily News editorial, “Here is the minefield for Scott. He led the long-standing Republican charge for accountability for teachers – or else. He did so to a fault, seeming to hold teaches in contempt as underachievers. The mandate for teachers and other state workers to contribute to their pensions – akin to a 3 percent pay cut – remains a sore point for them despite Scott’s efforts lately to right the score with merit pay plans and more money.” [Naples Daily News – Editorial, 3/3/13]

Tampa Tribune Editorial: Scott Said He Was “A Friend To Education, But Scott Cut $1.3 Billion From Public Schools In His First Budget.” According to a Tampa Tribune editorial, “He says he is a friend to education, but Scott cut $1.3 billion from public schools in his first budget. His second budget cut $300 million from state universities (while, incredibly, he approved the start-up Florida Polytechnic near Lakeland). Per-student spending is lower than it was under Crist. The Bright Futures scholarship program has been slashed. One of his four education commissioners, Tony Bennett, resigned after eight months following revelations he changed the way Indiana schools were graded, to the great benefit of a failing charter school supported by wealthy Republican backers.” [Tampa Tribune – Editorial, 8/11/14]

Tampa Bay Times Editorial: During His State Of The State Speech, Scott Failed To Offer A Solid Plan For How To Improve Higher Education In Light Of Significant Budget Cuts. According to a Tampa Bay Times editorial, “Even as the governor gave an important nod to improving the state’s higher education offerings, he did not offer a plan of how that should be done or pledge to invest more money in universities that have seen significant budget cuts.” [Tampa Bay Times – Editorial, 1/11/12]

Miami Herald Columnist Marc Caputo Blasted Scott’s Record On Education; Said His Favorability Ratings Were Low. According to Miami Herald, “Scott’s high-profile interest in education stands in inverse proportion to his cellar-dwelling polling numbers. Only 33 percent of registered Florida voters had a favorable opinion of Scott, while 46 percent had a negative feeling, according to the most-recent Quinnipiac University Florida poll released in March. That gives Scott a favorability index of -13. It was +4 just after he took office and just before he proposed and signed his first 2011 budget that cut about $1.3 billion from K-12 education.” [Miami Herald, 6/9/13]

  • Caputo: Scott Quickly Reversed Course On Cutting Spending For K-12 Education Once His Political Advisors Realized It Was A “Toxic” Move. According to Miami Herald, “This year’s budget increased education spending by about $1.1 billion and the 2012 budget also boosted K-12 by about $1 billion. Scott’s evolution on school spending, however, began almost as soon as he called for cutting K-12 in 2011. Scott’s political team quickly realized it was toxic.” [Miami Herald, 6/9/13]
  • Scott’s Rhetoric On Education Changed Once He Received Backlash About Budget Cuts; He Attempted To Make Amends With Teachers. According to Miami Herald, “The rhetoric of Scott, too, has changed. In 2011, he showcased all budget cuts, for which he campaigned. He compared many government programs to junk in a cluttered attic that also contained a few ‘priceless’ things. ‘Over the last month, I’ve spent a lot of time in that attic. And I’m cleaning it out,’ he said when he advertised his ‘jobs budget’ and vetoed a mammoth $615.3 million in spending. This year, Scott’s office touted a press release headlined ‘Families First Budget Includes Historic State K-12 Education Funding.’ Scott also started to repair his relations with teacher and state-worker unions by calling for pay raises, instead of layoffs and de facto pay cuts.” [Miami Herald, 6/9/13]


Snyder Education Cuts

Snyder Proposed Cutting Public School Funding By 4 Percent, About $470 Per Student. According to the Oakland Press, “The first-year Republican governor proposed spending cuts for schools, universities and local governments and ending many personal tax breaks. The budget also would eliminate before- and after-school programs, cut hundreds of state jobs and ask public employees for concessions. […] He proposes cutting public schools by 4 percent, or about $470 per student. School districts have barely kept up with inflation in the past eight years and were counting on getting more money because of an anticipated surplus in the school aid fund. The state’s public universities would get 15 percent less, but $83 million would be set aside to be shared with universities that kept tuition increases around 7 percent or less, according to state budget director John Nixon.” [Oakland Press, 2/17/11]

Snyder Signed The Budget With A State Aid Cut Of $470 Per Student. According to ABC, “Gov. Rick Snyder signed his first-ever budget into law yesterday. Today, Mid-Michigan school districts are worried about what it will take to balance their books after suffering tough cuts. Both Saginaw and Bay City schools need to cut millions more from their budgets after the governor agreed to a state aid cut of $470 a student. In Saginaw, the district faces a $10.6 million budget hole. Around $3.6 million of that was caused by the state’s cuts to per pupil funding.” [ABC, 6/22/11]


EPIC-MRA Poll: 71 Percent Of Michiganders Opposed Funding Cuts For K-12 Education. According to the Kalamazoo Gazette, “Michigan educators may be losing the battle in Lansing over K-12 funding cuts, but they appear to be winning the public relations war, based on results of a statewide poll. Results of a survey of 600 people released last week by EPIC-MRA in Lansing showed 71 percent oppose funding cuts for K-12 education, and 61 percent would vote for a change to the state constitution that would limit use of the State Aid Fund to K-12 schools. And the poll didn’t show much of a partisan or philosophical divide. In fact, those who identified themselves as ‘strong Tea Party supporters’ had the same rate of support for the constitutional change as union members.” [Kalamazoo Gazette, 5/6/11]

Lansing State Journal Editorial: “Rick Snyder Has Not Been A Champion Of Education.” According to a Lansing State Journal editorial, “So far, Gov. Rick Snyder has not been a champion of education. As the state’s fiscal woes recede, though, it’s time to make education a priority. Snyder can point to many goals achieved in 2011, including wiping out a $1.5 billion deficit and restructuring much of the state’s business and individual tax system. He had legislative victories in limiting public employee benefits, in strengthening emergency managers who step in when local governments are in financial crisis, in altering unemployment and workers’ compensation benefits. All were controversial; all brought change.” [Lansing State Journal – Editorial, 1/20/12]

Mike Connell: “Snyder And The Republican-Controlled Legislature Shifted More Than $900 Million From The School Aid Fund…They Broke The Promise Made 17 Years Ago When Leaders Of Both Political Parties Assured Voters The Fund Would Be Used Exclusively For K-12 Education.” According to an editorial by Mike Connell and published by the Times Herald, “In developing the budget that will underwrite the coming school year, Gov. Rick Snyder and the Republican-controlled Legislature shifted more than $900 million from the school aid fund to Michigan’s 15 state-supported universities. In doing so, they broke the promise made 17 years ago when leaders of both political parties assured voters the fund would be used exclusively for K-12 education. […] ‘I am simply doing what I said I was going to do,’ Snyder explained. ‘That’s a novel idea for a politician.’ In effect, the governor broke a promise to keep a promise.” [Times Herald – Editorial, 7/31/11]

Carrollton Public Schools Superintendent: “I Think It’s Going To Affect Every Kid In Some Way, Shape, Or Form.” According to Carolina Live, “‘What I feel today is profound disappointment,’ said Dr. Craig Douglas, the Superintendent of Carrollton Public Schools. As the superintendent of Carrollton Public Schools, Dr. Craig Douglas is bracing for what he considers the biggest budget cut to education in 20 years. ‘I think its going to affect every kid in some way, shape, or form,’ said Douglas.” [Carolina Live, 2/17/11]

Mecosta Osceola Intermediate School District Superintendent: “Snyder Has Officially Raided The K-12 School Aid Fund To Give Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars To Higher Education And Business.” According to an editorial by Curtis Finch and published by the Pioneer, “Gov. Rick Snyder has officially raided the K-12 School Aid Fund to give hundreds of millions of dollars to higher education and business. Next he will be lining up C-corporations for a raid on the School Aid Fund for 2012. ‘Ccorps’ are large privately – or publicly – owned businesses in Michigan that are not ‘mom and-pop’ businesses.” [The Pioneer – Editorial, 7/12/11]


Brownback Education Cuts

Brownback Proposed Cutting Education Funding By 6%, $232 Per Student. According to the Garden City Telegram, “An even more eye-popping number in political terms could be Brownback’s proposal to cut the base state aid to public schools by $232 per student, or almost 6 percent. Base aid doesn’t account for all the state tax dollars received by Kansas’ 293 districts, but educators tend to focus on the figure as a measurement of the state’s commitment.” [Garden City Telegram, 1/13/11]

Brownback Signed Budget That Contained “Dramatic Cuts In Public School Funding.” According to the Topeka Capital-Journal, “Gov. Sam Brownback completed work on a budget bill Saturday outlining expenditure of $13.8 billion by Kansas government in the coming fiscal year and inviting controversy by making dramatic cuts in public school funding and eliminating aid to the politically popular Kansas Arts Commission.” [Topeka Capital-Journal, 5/18/11]

Brownback Attacked Court Ruling That Mandated The State Increase Education Funding By $500 Million. According to the Kansas City Star, “Also Tuesday, Brownback called on the Legislature to address a recent court ruling ordering the state to put as much as $500 million in new funds into elementary and secondary education. The governor criticized the courts for ordering more money for schools, repeating his argument that the Legislature — not the judiciary — has the ‘power of the purse.’” [Kansas City Star, 1/15/13]


Republican Senate Vice President Said Brownback’s Cuts Would Lead To Layoffs Of “Literally Thousands Of Teachers.” According to the Garden City Telegram, “‘I can tell you this: The education community will not be happy with his budget proposal, and if it passes, literally thousands of teachers across the state will lose their jobs,’ Senate Vice President John Vratil, a Leawood Republican, said Wednesday night before the details became public.” [Garden City Telegram, 1/13/11]

Kansas Public Schools Warned That Brownback’s Education Cuts Would Lead To Larger Class Sizes, Due To Teacher Layoffs. According to the Kansas City Star, “Across the state, Kansas public school officials are warning of even larger classes and more teacher layoffs under Brownback’s proposed budget. Even though the state would spend more on schools under Brownback’s plan, the increase won’t fully make up for expiring federal stimulus funds. School districts still stand to lose $107 million next year and $85 million the year after.” [Kansas City Star, 1/22/11]


Ducey Education Cuts

Opposed Equally Funding All School Districts

AUDIO: Ducey Called Funding Formulas For Schools Too Complicated And That Education Funding “Shouldn’t All Be About Equality.” According to radio interview with Doug Ducey on KVOI, “Question: ‘On the school board. We’re an A school district. We tried to charter our schools and given one year. There seems to be a right and a wrong kind of choice. Must go after school funding and make it equitable.’ DD: ‘I agree with you, the funding formulas are too complex and confusing. And we need some flexibility around them. The challenge I’ll give you is it shouldn’t all be about equality, because things that aren’t working we got to point that out, They either need to improve or go away. Things that are working need to be properly funded and resourced. That’s what I think is missing today.” [KVOI, 6/18/14]

Supported Appealing Court Decision Requiring Arizona To Increase Education Funding By $300 Million

AUDIO: Ducey Applauded Governor Brewer For Appealing The Ruling On K-12 Education Funding. According to radio interview with Doug Ducey on KVOI, “Q: ‘Assuming the ruling on k-12 education funding holds up, where would you find the $370 million?’ Ducey: ‘We have options, and the state should explore those options. If anyone asks you what Doug Ducey’s campaign is about, tell them it’s about growth and job creation. I think if Arizona stands for one single idea, it’s opportunity for all. Good jobs and a chance to get ahead. The options that are in front of the governor in this next section are either comply with ruling, to appeal ruling, to restructure or ignore the ruling. I think Governor Brewer made right decision in appealing ruling. I applaud her for doing that. We’ll have some time to decide here. I think in interim we need to look at 9B flowing through our state federal local budgets to fund k-12 education. The real opportunity here is much like we talked about where state was in 2009, I think it’s important to remember, that not long ago state was bankrupt, insolvent, structurally broken.’” [KVOI, 6/18/14]

AUDIO: Ducey Said He Would Follow The Law Following A Judge Ruling Forcing Maricopa County To Give Back Over $300 Million In Funding To Education. According to radio interview with Doug Ducey on KVOI, “Question: ‘So a Maricopa County Judge is ordering the state legislature to return $310 million back to education, basically this is something the current Governor and a lot of the state legislators interpreted a proposition from the voters one way and the judge said it should be interpreted the other way. Either way it’s an extra chunk of money coming in. As a Republican candidate and State Treasurer, what’s your take on $300 million having to be returned to the educational institutions?’ Ducey: ‘Well, we’re gonna follow the law looking at the details of what’s going to be necessary if it’s going to be this $310 million block if it’s going to be that going forward there are going to have to be some adjustments made in our budget how we handle things. What I point out is let’s look at experience of what people have done before this in terms of managing large budgets and making adjustments.” [KVOI, 7/16/14]


Arizona Republic Editorial: Ducey’s Plan To Cut The Budget While Exempting Education, Even Though Education Was “The Lion’s Share” Of The State Budget, Was “Tooth-Fairy Math.” According to Arizona Republic – Editorial, “The candidates still seem to be clinging to some of the magical-thinking fantasies about dealing with those financial woes that drove their primary elections. DuVal still argues the Legislature should have paid the $285 million education assessment immediately after the court ruling, as if a blank check could be conjured up at will. And Ducey still contends that ‘everything is on the table’ for budget trimming ‘except education,’ even when education spending represents the lion’s share of the state’s dollar. As DuVal noted in what may have been the night’s cleverest turn of phrase, there’s more than a little ‘tooth-fairy math’ at play in that plan.” [Arizona Republic – Editorial, 9/11/14]