Before the COVID-19 pandemic, most school districts had massively increased K-12 spending in recent decades. Reason Foundation’s Spending Spotlight found that inflation-adjusted K-12 education funding increased by more than $3,200 per pupil, or 25% nationwide, between 2002 and 2020. Education spending increased in 49 of 50 states between 2002 and 2020, even though student enrollments dropped in 22 states.
Three years ago this month, K-12 education spending skyrocketed even further when Congress appropriated the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) in March 2020 in response to the pandemic. It was the first of three COVID relief packages that