California achieved the dubious distinction of having the largest state per-pupil cuts in the last four years, out of the 46 states studied. Hawaii came in second, having cut just $1 more per pupil than New Mexico. The dollar amounts are inflation-adjusted. (However, it should be noted that Hawaii doesn’t have local spending on schools, so the state cut is going to be higher because it’s a greater percentage of the total formula.)
If you break the cuts down by percentages, according to the report, Hawaii’s per-pupil state funding has dropped 22 percent since 2008, putting it among the four states with the largest percentage cuts, behind only Arizona and South Carolina at 24 percent and California at 23 percent.
Hawaii’s numbers are difficult to compare with those of other states because in most states local property taxes pay part of the cost of schools. That’s not the case in Hawaii. Education funds come from the state and federal governments here, which at least in part explains why the dollar figure for state level cuts is so high here compared with other states.
Bottom line: Matayoshi is correct that the overall state cut in per pupil funding is the second highest. But that doesn’t take into account the fact that other states may have seen cuts in their local funding that would make their figures higher than Hawaii’s.
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