Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Survey: More cuts to school jobs expected next year

By Kate Alexander | Austin American-Statesman
Tuesday, November 1, 2011, 11:51 AM

More than 60 percent of Texas school districts expect further staffing reductions next year as they grapple with state budget reductions, according to a survey by school finance consultant Moak, Casey & Associates.

Almost 9,600 school district jobs — one-third of which were classroom teachers — were eliminated this year by the survey respondents, which serve 39 percent of the state’s students. If those job cuts were applied across the state, there would be 32,000 fewer school employees in Texas, including 12,000 fewer teachers.

That number is much, much smaller than the 100,000 school jobs that consultant Lynn Moak estimated would be lost when the 2012-13 budget was first released in January. At that point, lawmakers proposed reducing per-student funding by $10 billion and eliminating almost $2 billion in education grants.

In the end, the Legislature underfunded schools by $4 billion in basic aid and cut $1.3 billion from grant programs that paid for full-day prekindergarten, assisted students struggling to pass state standardized tests and more.

But more jobs are expected to be lost next because schools are relying on some one-time federal money to prop up their budgets this year and some districts will lose additional state aid next year, the school districts report.

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