In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the outlook for school district budgets is bleak. Many states have announced shortfalls for the fiscal year that is just ending in most places and for the new fiscal year as well. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities projects that states will have $615 billion less over the three fiscal years starting with 2020 than budgeted for in better times.
Unlike the federal government, almost all states have laws that require them to balance their budgets, virtually guaranteeing that governors and state lawmakers will make cuts this fiscal year or the subsequent one in 2021-2022. Policymakers will not be able to spread the economic shock over longer periods of time.