Sources of Funding
Before reading about federal, state, and local funding, it is important to remember that each state has a different breakdown of funds, based on such factors as how much federal funding it gets. The percentages below are average figures for the 50 states and U. S. territories. Using the 1998–99 figures listed above, some states get more in federal funding (in Mississippi the figure was 14 percent), while others got significantly less (in New Jersey the number was 3.7 percent). Likewise, state contributions can vary significantly. In Vermont, 74.4 percent of school funding came from the state, while in New Hampshire only 8.9 percent came from state funding.
Much of these rates are based on the types of programs that exist within each state or the internal tax structure. A state that has more federal education programs for children may end up with a higher percentage of federal funds overall. In general, the breakdowns tend to work. That said, whenever one source cuts back, it has an effect on the other sources. If, for example, the federal government were to decrease its educational contribution across the board by two percent, that would mean states and local communities would have to make up the shortfall. If either of those sources made cutbacks, the remaining source would feel more pressure to contribute more. If the necessary funding was simply not there, the result would either be higher taxes or reduced services.