New Study Finds School Districts Struggling in Response to Economic Downturn, Bracing For More Cuts
ARLINGTON, Va. – The economic downturn continues to threaten the capacity of school districts nationwide, even in light of federal stimulus funds, according to a study released today by the American Association of School Administrators. "One Year Later: How the Economic Downturn Continues to Impact School Districts," is the sixth in a series of studies conducted by AASA. The study is based on a survey of 875 school administrators conducted in September and October 2009 and finds that while funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act have provided some relief, districts in every part of the nation are being forced to make cuts that directly impact student learning. The data also suggest a "shell game" in which state budgets were cut after it was known that ARRA included money for education.
Full survey: http://www.aasa.org/content.aspx?id=8152.
· 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.
· While ARRA funds have allowed districts so save some of the positions slated for elimination, 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, though not all, of the core subject positions slated for elimination. An additional third (35 percent) were unable to save any of the core-subject teaching positions slated for elimination.
· The trend reaches beyond instructional positions. Roughly 59 percent of respondents were unable to save any of the central-office or administrative positions; maintenance, cafeteria or transportation staff positions; school librarian positions; or school nursing positions slated for elimination in their district.
· When asked how ARRA dollars impacted their state and local revenues, 83 percent reported that ARRA dollars did not represent a funding increase.
· The percentage of districts increasing class size, eliminating field trips and cutting bus transportation routes increased from 2008-09 to 2010-11.
"Federal stimulus funds have helped schools, but not as much as hoped," said Mark Bielang, AASA president and superintendent in Paw Paw, Mich. "It is critical that Congress and the U.S. Department of Education continue to work to ensure schools have the flexible resources they need to fuel economic recovery and growth."
"This year is bad, but next year could be worse," said Daniel A. Domenech, AASA executive director. "School districts are bracing themselves for a ‘one-two punch’ as they budget for the 2010-11 school year and anticipate the end of ARRA funds."
The American Association of School Administrators, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders across the United States. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children.