Strained Schools Face Bleak Future: Districts Foresee Budget Cuts, Teacher Layoffs, and a Slowing of Education Reform Efforts

 

Strained Schools Face Bleak Future cover
When it comes to school funding, this latest
Center for Education Policy survey report shovels more bad news onto the
already massive mound. A sample of 450 districts finds that about 70 percent faced
funding cuts in 2010-11; of those, 85 percent cut jobs for teachers or other
staff. When asked what next year holds, 60 percent of districts expecting decreased
revenues are planning layoffs in response. The survey also delves specifically into
district management of federal stimulus dollars—and emerges with some
disheartening results. Districts mostly spent their ARRA money on protecting
fringe benefits and administrative staff while firing teachers in non-core
subjects and slashing investments in technology and instructional materials. Further,
“reform initiatives” suffered: Two-thirds of those with decreased funding also
reined them in (though the authors never define what they include in those
initiatives). Unfortunately, the survey’s format raises more questions than it
answers, giving no sense of the depth of cuts or the scale of new investments. And
forget about questions regarding productivity enhancement. Nearly every
district will be affected by the funding cliff next year, but, from this
survey, it’s hard to tell how many districts have retooled and cut baseline
spending and how many are just laying off teachers and waiting out this
financial storm.

Click to play

Click to listen to commentary on the CEP district survey from the Education Gadfly Show podcast

 

Nancy Kober and Diane Stark Rentner, “Strained
Schools Face Bleak Future: Districts Foresee Budget Cuts, Teacher Layoffs, and
a Slowing of Education Reform Efforts
,” (Washington,
D.C.: Center for Education Policy, June 2011).

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