NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Public Education Funding Flexibility

March 2, 1999

The General Accounting Office reported in November that a pilot program that gives states more flexibility to spend federal education dollars has shown positive but limited results. An "Ed-Flex" bill with bipartisan support would allow all 50 states to apply for waivers to use Title I funds, meant for schools in which at least half the students are disadvantaged, and funds from five other programs, to benefit other students.

  • The federal government is providing about 6.2 percent of all K-12 public education funds -- about $22.6 billion for the 1998-99 school year.
  • The states' share of education spending is 43.9 percent, or $162.4 billion.
  • And local school districts provide 39.8 percent of school funds, or $147.5 billion in the current year.

Thus the federal government's share of education expenditures is relatively small. And since Ed-Flex does not apply to most of the programs funded by the federal government, some states in the pilot program say it has had little impact.

Source: Wendy Koch, "Bill Would Grant Schools Flexibility with Federal Aid," USA Today, March 1, 1999.


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