Long-term trend lines show that K-12 spending as a share of the state General Fund budget steadily decreased under Democratic leadership.
Many are fond of saying that state budget spending reflects the priorities of the legislature. As a priority, then, K-12 spending was taking a back seat to several other categories like Health & Human Services, General Government and Natural & Economic Resources.
The below chart shows the percentage of total General Fund spending for K-12 education from FY 1970-71 to FY 2007-08. I stop at that year because leftists wax nostalgic of the highwater, pre-recession K-12 spending levels of 07-08. As a share of General Fund appropriations, K-12 shrank significantly from 52% in 1971 to just 39.4% in 2008. That is a 24% reduction in the share of total spending.
Save for a a bump in the mid-to-late 1990s, there was a sustained downward trend in the percentage. (BTW, it continued to fall to 38.4% by FY 2010-11).
While spending on public education rose significantly over that time, other categories of spending rose even faster. It was crowded out by other priorities legislators found more important.
Lastly, K-12 spending as a share of General Fund appropriations has risen slightly from 38.7% in 2011-12 to 39.2% in 2016-17.