Thursday, October 29, 2009

More teacher cuts nationwide next year?

Still angry at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools for cutting teachers and popular programs this recession year? Well, CMS wasn't alone. A nationwide study released this week shows hundreds of school districts did the same thing - and will likely have to make cuts next school year too.

The report from the American Association of School Administrators called “One Year Later: How the Economic Downturn Continues to Impact School Districts,” shows that even federal stimulus funds couldn't stop the layoffs and cuts. The report says data suggests that's because states engaged in a "shell game" where state budgets were cut after it was known what stimulus money was included for education. So the federal money was used to fill holes, not provide additional money after cuts were made.

A survey of 875 school administrators conducted in September and October 2009 showed districts in every part of the nation were forced to make cuts that directly affected student learning. Among the highlights of the survey:

- Two-thirds (66 percent) of respondents reported having to eliminate personnel positions for the 2009-10 school year, and 83 percent anticipate having to eliminate further positions in 2010-11.

- Stimulus funds allowed districts to save some of teacher positions slated for elimination, but many still had to make cuts. One-quarter (26 percent) of respondents were able to save all of the core-subject teaching positions slated for elimination in their district. One-third (33 percent) were able to save some. Another third (35 percent) were unable to save any of those core-subject teaching positions.

- The percentage of districts increasing class size, eliminating field trips and cutting bus transportation routes increased from 2008-09 to 2010-11.