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Educational Spending: Kentucky vs. Other States

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The passage of the Kentucky Educational Reform Act (KERA) in 1990 had a dramatic impact on the funding of primary and secondary education in the state. The amount of money spent on education increased significantly with the passage of KERA with districts in rural areas of the state experiencing the largest growth in spending (Hoyt, 1999). This has led to a decline in the disparity between rural and urban districts in education spending. However, despite the increase in educational spending, Kentucky still lags behind the typical state in the U.S. in spending per student (Troske, 2008).

This report is the first in a series of two examining how educational budgets are allocated in Kentucky and whether differences in how money is spent affect educational outcomes. In this report we focus on how education dollars are spent in Kentucky, how spending has changed over time, and how spending in Kentucky compares with spending in other states. In a companion report--Education Outcomes: Kentucky vs Other States--we examine how differences in educational spending affect educational outcomes such as standardized test scores and graduation rates.