Cuts hurt economy in short- and long-term
September 5, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Sharon Kayne, Communications Director, NM Voices for Children, 505-244-9505
ALBUQUERQUE—New Mexico ranks 16th worst in the country in terms of how deeply school funding has been cut since the start of the recession. These cuts put the state’s economy and long-term prosperity in jeopardy.
Investment in K-12 schools is almost 11 percent below 2008 levels, which means New Mexico has made deeper cuts than 34 other states, according to a report released Tuesday by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a non-partisan policy research organization based in Washington, D.C.
“These cuts have undermined our ability to educate New Mexico’s children and there will be consequences for the state’s economy,” said Veronica Garcia, Ed.D., Executive Director of New Mexico Voices for Children. “Good schools and an educated workforce foster economic growth.”
The recession caused state revenue to decline sharply. But instead of addressing budget shortfalls by taking a balanced approach that includes new revenues, New Mexico relied very heavily on cuts to state services, including education.
The loss of federal emergency financial aid to states and school districts has contributed to education cuts as well. Federal dollars from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Education Jobs Fund helped states limit education cuts initially, but the aid largely expired at the end of Fiscal Year 2011, leaving states to deal with education funding shortfalls on their own.
New Mexico’s K-12 education cuts hurt the state’s economy in the short- and long-term. The cuts have extended the recession by causing both public- and private-sector job losses, slowing the pace of economic recovery. The funding cuts have forced school districts throughout the state to lay off teachers and support staff, reduce pay for the remaining staff, and cancel contracts with private businesses.
Reducing investment in schools also has long-term economic consequences. A strong education system is essential to creating and maintaining a thriving economy. Businesses need a well-educated workforce, and education cuts undermine the state’s ability to produce workers with the skills needed to compete in a global economy.
“Across much of the country, kids are going back to school to find more crowded classrooms, and – in some cases – shorter school weeks,” said Phil Oliff, policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and author of the report. “That’s no way to develop our future workforce and build a strong economy.”
The Center’s full report can be found at: http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3825.
New Mexico Voices for Children is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization advocating for policies to improve the health and well-being of New Mexico’s children, families and communities. Our fiscal policy work is funded by grants from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, the WK Kellogg Foundation, and the Working Poor Families Project.
2340 Alamo SE, Suite 120, Albuquerque, NM 87106-3523; 505-244-9505 (p); www.nmvoices.org