School-Finance Analysts Tally Staffing Reductions in Wake of Budget Cuts—Tell Your Story

The school-finance specialists at the Austin consulting firm of Moak, Casey & Associates have a new report out offering an early look at school districts’ responses to the state budget cuts of $5.4 billion for the 2012-2013 biennium. The report says:

“Districts responding to a recent survey on staffing practices indicated that they are employing 11,833 fewer staff members than they would have had staffing ratios from last year remained in place this year. Extrapolated statewide, these preliminary data suggest that Texas districts are employing an estimated 32,000 fewer staff today than they would have without the recent funding cuts. Most districts surveyed anticipated additional losses next year.”

The Moak, Casey survey drew responses from 60 school districts that accounted for 39 percent of the state’s students in 2010-2011. The report notes that the most accurate data to use to compare 2010-2011 staffing with staffing for the current school year will not be available from the Texas Education Agency until late in the spring of 2012. Nonetheless, the preliminary data suggest some significant trends.

For instance, the report says:

–The estimated statewide loss of 32,000 employees includes almost 12,000 teachers.

–Some 61 percent of respondents anticipated that student-to-staff ratios will increase in the second year of the biennium.

–Meanwhile, 74 percent of respondent districts reported freezing teacher salaries from the prior year.

Texas AFT has posted its own online survey to gauge the impacts of the budget cuts, and we urge you to take this short survey to help us document the local impact of the loss of $5.4 billion in state school aid, including the overall impact on the climate for teaching and learning.  Just go to www.texasaft.org and click on the link to the survey you’ll find at the top of our home page.

Results of the Texas AFT survey will be compiled, analyzed, and publicized in the near future. We intend to disseminate the results far and wide, so that everyone can know the consequences of the cuts pushed through by state leaders and legislative majorities earlier this year.