Schools in St. Louis Area Have Escaped the Economic Downturn - So Far

ANGELA PASCOPELLA's picture
Wednesday, February 22, 2012

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.

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