June 22, 2022

Every year, K-12 schools are underfunded by $150 billion (1). This lack of funding has far-reaching effects on overall performance, educators' well-being, and students' welfare.

Results of Underfunding: It's In The Numbers

Effects of Underfunding on Performance  

  • Underfunded schools have fewer music, art, gym, foreign language, and social studies teachers (2)
  • An analysis of education funding during the Great Recession in 2018 found that a 10% reduction in school spending reduced National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores in math and reading. Furthermore, the study found that students exposed to a 10% reduction in spending during high school saw their graduation rates decline by 2 to 3 percentage points. (3)

Effects of Underfunding on Educator Well-Being  

  • 61% of educators are "always" or "often" stressed. (4)
    • Staff members in underfunded schools have greater student "loads," or the number of students in the district per teacher. (2)
    • The National Education Association reports that teachers earn 4.5 percent less than they did ten years ago. The Economic Policy Institute reports that public school teachers make 17 percent less than their peers. (5,6)

Effects of Underfunding on Student Welfare  

  • 17 million students go hungry every year (7)
    • Schools with limited funding are less able to support students experiencing financial hardship with breakfast, lunch, and weekend food "backpack" programs.
  • 3,703 suicide attempts per day by 9th-12th graders (8)
    • Schools with limited funding cannot support students with mental and emotional support programs.

How Smart Rain is Helping

With the education funding crisis, the big question is…where will the money come from to address this? What if the money schools spent on landscape irrigation ended up back in the classroom? With this thought in mind, Smart Rain is donating $213,000,000 in smart irrigation controllers to schools across America.

With each controller, Smart Rain is going to save each school $7,569, on average, per year, which districts can reallocate back to the kids to improve their education. Unlike a one-time donation, this is a gift that can truly keep on giving.

(1) The Century Foundation, tcf.org, 2020
(2) New Jersey Policy Perspective, njpp.org, 2021
(3) National Bureau of Economic Research, nber.org, 2018
(4) American Federation of Teachers, aft.org, 2017
(5) National Education Association, nea.org, 2020
(6) Economic Policy Institute, epi.org, 2016
(7) Feeding America, feedingamerica.org, 2020
(8) The Parent Resource Program, The Jason Foundation, prp.jasonfoundation.com

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