Thursday, October 7, 2010

MyNotes - Cutting to the bone

Everytime I read one of these types of articles (this is the second this evening), a part of me starts to ask, "What about your job? The team that works with you? What about their counterparts in other districts?" And, finally, "What happens when we all hit the job market looking for jobs?" Unemployment looms.

In chatting with colleagues earlier in the day at a meeting in Austin, it seems that Texans may soon find themselves reflecting on what their responses will be to these questions. In the article below--which is well worth reading in its entirety, rather than my favorite excerpts--the point is made that education will be cut. In discussions today, it appears that because Texas used $13billion in funds from the federal government, then the size of the hole Texas will soon find itself in is certainly $21billion. This means education will face cuts in one form or another.

Articles like the one below help me understand the bad things to come, even if, like a man standing on the beach watching the tsunami suck the water out away from him, there's not enough time to run.

Cutting to the bone: At a glance - Center for Public Education, one of the last budget areas to be cut, is showing decreases in funding at the same time schools and school districts are facing dramatic increases in costs.

Although the recession technically ended in 2009, district budgets are not expected to regain their pre-recession (2008) funding levels until late in the decade...And “states are facing a protracted budget crisis like none seen in the last 30 years and perhaps not since the Great Depression” (Thomasian 2010).

States spent nearly $75 billion less in 2010 than in 2008—an almost 11 percent decrease.
...for the current school year (2010-11), most districts have had to make cuts that affect students more directly. These cuts included:

* Laying off teachers, which in turn increases class size
* Cutting extracurricular activities
* Cutting courses not required for graduation
* Eliminating summer school
* Adopting a four-day school week
* Eliminating field trips
* Cutting instructional programs
* Cutting professional development for teachers and staff.

According to a study by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), budget cuts are noticeably more significant this school year than they were in either 2008-09 or 2009-10...For the current school year, 30 percent of districts slashed their budgets between 11 and 25 percent, up from 21 percent of districts in 2009-10 (Ellerson 2010).

With 60 to 80 percent of school funds dedicated to personnel (Roza 2007), budget cuts mean it’s inevitable that jobs will be lost. Nearly all districts (90 percent) said they expected to cut positions this school year, an increase from 68 percent a year earlier (Ellerson 2010). Some of these personnel cuts will come through attrition, but 60 percent of districts are expected to lay off staff this year, up from 33 percent in 2009-10 and 12 percent in 2008-09 (Ellerson 2010).

Today’s primary school children may graduate from high school before their districts can afford to reinvest in quality teachers, small classes, and proven educational programs.

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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