Public school advocacy groups are pointing out that inflation-adjusted per-student spending is lower than it was before the Great Recession. But I do not believe that ignoring the recession makes for a sound analysis.
During the recession, a Democratic legislative majority cut state education spending significantly. Since the 2010 elections, Republicans have boosted nominal per-pupil expenditures (PPE) nearly every year, although those increases have not always kept pace with inflation or enrollment growth.
Using the GDP Deflator to adjust for inflation (base=2015) and NC Department of Public Instruction data, I determined that state expenditures were higher in 2015 than they were in any year between 2011 and 2014.
|Year||Nominal State PPE||Inflation-Adjusted State PPE|