Bus routes have been cut, summer school eliminated, teachers have lost jobs and taxes have risen.
Along the way, an image has emerged of recession-battered school systems losing a fight against the worst financial crisis in decades.Yet state data suggest most area districts have weathered the storm quite well.
At least until now.
A Post-Dispatch analysis of state, federal and local education funding shows that total school revenue has climbed in Missouri and Illinois in recent years at a rate that approaches or slightly exceeds inflation. In Missouri, spending rose to $9.3 billion in 2011, up from $8.9 billion in the 2008 fiscal year, just prior to the economic collapse. Illinois schools drew in $25.4 billion in state, local and federal aid in 2010, $1.8 billion higher than two years prior, though state revenue for schools has since declined.