A growing chunk of school funding is bypassing the classroom to pay for past due retirement bills, according to a new study that found such spending increased more in Illinois than any other state.
A study by Bellwether Education Partners found that education spending on a national level over the 10 years ending in 2014 slightly increased, by 1.3 percent, even though student population grew by more than 3 percent. But spending on education benefits, typically teacher retirement and retiree healthcare spending, has exploded. From 2005 to 2014, the national benefit spending increased by 22 percent on average, leaving fewer dollars for everything else.
“Benefit spending is increasing much faster than K-12 spending overall, and as a result, benefits are eating up a rising share of school district budgets,” according to the study.