K-12 education consistently makes up the largest share of state general fund spending each year, hovering between 34 percent and 36 percent since 1996, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers. In fiscal year 2015, more than $260 billion went to elementary and secondary education. Although no two states distribute education dollars exactly the same way, the vast majority of funding formulas are built around a “foundation” or “base” amount of funding that is the minimum each student receives. 
State formulas then further adjust per-pupil funding depending on the type of student (for example, special needs, English-language learner, low-income) and the wealth of the school district. The systems that work best are based on research — specifically, tying the amount that flows to each school to the cost of providing an education that meets the state’s academic standards, says Michael Griffith, a school finance strategist with the Education Commission of the States. 
North Dakota, for example, used an evidence-based approach developed by an outside consulting firm as it made multiple improvements to K-12 funding over the past decade. The firm was hired in 2008 to make recommendations on an “adequate funding level,” or how much the state should spend per student based on the state’s curriculum standards.

CSG Midwest

After more than four decades in public office, New York state Sen. Hugh T. Farley announced earlier this year that he would not run for re-election and would retire at the end of 2016 to spend more time with family. Farley, also Senate vice president pro tempore, was first elected to the New York Senate in 1976, making him its second longest-serving member.

By Pennsylvania state Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio
With a strong professional background in long-term care and working with older adults for more than 20 years before entering public service, I learned not to make assumptions about how people age. We all age differently. We live different lifestyles and make different choices at all points along life’s timeline, including through our 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond. It is imperative to recognize the individuality of our older constituents and not generalize or assume—you know the adage about when we assume—that their needs are the same or even similar. We can best serve our older constituents by recognizing that many are still working well into their 70s and 80s.

Employment is the most direct and cost-effective means to empower individuals to achieve independence, economic self-sufficiency, and a sense of dignity and self-worth. This FREE CSG eCademy webcast focuses on employer practices and state policies that address the hiring, retention and re-entry of people with disabilities in the workplace. This is the final webcast in a four-part series presented by the National Task Force on Workforce Development for People with Disabilities, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy.

More than a decade ago, analysts were predicting the next big challenge for state governments: The mass retirement of baby boomers. Then the Great Recession hit and those same baby boomers stayed put, delaying retirement until more prosperous times returned. Now that the economy is on the path to recovery, baby boomers are resuming their retirement plans. “Nearly all states have 30 percent or more of their employees eligible to retire within the next five years,” said Leslie Scott, executive director of the National Association of State Personnel Executives, a CSG affiliate organization.