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Money the Top Education Theme in State Midterm Elections

Funding was the prime education theme in this year’s state midterm elections, fueling debates over teacher pay and more money for local schools, as well as testing voters’ appetite for tax hikes to raise that money.

Now comes a reckoning for a new crop of governors who face political and structural hurdles in delivering on their promises of more school aid, as well as for teacher and other activists whose efforts to push through revenue increases fell short in several states.

Brutal legislative battles are likely in store for Democrats Tony Evers in Wisconsin and Laura Kelly in Kansas, two governors-elect who scored upsets after campaigning hard on the prospect of millions more for schools.

Similarly, public school activists in Arizona, Colorado, and Hawaii will have to go back to the drawing board after measures they backed to tax wealthy residents in order to shore up their financially strapped public schools were either knocked off the ballot by the courts or soundly defeated on Election Day.