Over the past few decades, many public schools have lost a portion of their funding. While some of the lost revenue can be attributed to charter school vouchers, a recent study revealed public school districts lost $2.37 billion from tax abatements.
Good Jobs First has been closely monitoring this issue and is shining light on it. Good Jobs First Project Coordinator Christine Wen broke the study down and discussed why this is happening on America’s Work Force Union Podcast. She also discussed how the money can be better used.
Students pay for corporate tax breaks
Wen said today’s students are footing the bill for massive corporate tax breaks to the tune of $2.37 billion in funding.
While economic development is needed, these abatements have crushed working class families by forcing school districts to increase local and state taxes, further pushing Americans down. This causes a decrease in the quality of education. When a district loses funding, there are less resources available to students and families.
Where schools could be using money
Wen explained how school districts could benefit from the missing funds, as the additional revenue would directly lead to a better education. She added that many districts have fallen behind when it comes to purchasing and implementing modern equipment, materials and more.
While some states do not report the numbers, Wen said it is evident the biggest struggles are in the disadvantaged communities and districts. The largest percentage of abatements are driven away from more impoverished communities, which are funds that could be used to provide free lunches or other assistance.