Schools Forced To Cut Jobs in Response to Economic Downturn, According to New AASA Survey

January 16, 2009

Contact:
Amy Vogt
703-875-0723
avogt@aasa.org

 

ARLINGTON, Va. -- In response to the current economic downturn, public school districts across the nation plan to eliminate jobs in the 2009-2010 school year, including classroom instructors in all subject areas, according to a snapshot survey of school leaders released today by the American Association of School Administrators. Seventy-two percent of school leaders surveyed said their districts plan to eliminate jobs in the 2009-2010 school year, suggesting that schools and students face the stark reality of fewer academic instructors, support staff and student services staff when they return to school for the 2009-2010 school year.

As part of an ongoing effort to gauge how school districts across the country are responding to the current economic downturn, AASA surveyed 1,056 school leaders nationwide in January 2009 to determine if school districts are planning to eliminate job positions in the 2009-2010 budget cycle, and if so, where and how the cuts are being made. More than 250 school leaders from 46 states completed the AASA Impact of the Economic Downturn on School Jobs Snapshot Survey.

Types of Jobs Being Eliminated
The AASA survey found that teaching positions represent 38 percent of jobs that schools plan to cut. Responders indicated that 17 percent of the positions to be eliminated were teaching positions in the areas of mathematics, science, social studies and English. An additional 21 percent of the positions slated to be cut were teaching positions in foreign language, special education, art, music and physical education. Support staff (teacher aides/assistants, secretaries, and central office positions) represented 33 percent of the positions to be eliminated. Student services staff positions (librarians, nurses, maintenance, cafeteria and transportation) represented 17 percent of expected cuts.

How Jobs Are Being Eliminated
According to the survey results, staff layoffs were the most common method of job elimination, accounting for 61 percent of the positions slated to be cut. By community type, layoffs accounted for 53 percent of job eliminations in rural districts, 60 percent in suburban districts, and 65 percent in urban districts. Attrition/retirement was the second most common method of job elimination, accounting for 25 percent of the projected job cuts. Attrition/retirement accounted for 33 percent of job cuts in rural schools, 19 percent in suburban schools and 27 percent in urban schools.

"School districts nationwide are facing devastating job cuts that will directly impact student learning," said AASA Executive Director Dan Domenech. "It is essential that the federal government invest in education during this critical time to fill the funding gaps created by the economic downturn and ensure our children aren't shortchanged."

AASA provided the results of the survey to Congress in support of the proposed federal economic recovery package. The House package, released on Jan. 15, proposed a large investment in education, recognizing the hardships that schools are facing in the economic downturn and the role they can play in revitalizing communities.

“AASA is pleased that Congress reached out to us to get information about the effect of the economic downturn on schools, and we’re pleased that they listened to the advice we gave them based on that information,” said Bruce Hunter, associate executive director for advocacy and policy. “AASA has completed three snapshot surveys of the effect of the economic downturn on schools and will continue to provide Congress with snapshots moving forward.”

About the Survey
On Jan. 14, 2009, AASA invited 1,056 school leaders nationwide via e-mail to complete the AASA Impact of the Economic Downturn on School Jobs Snapshot Survey. More than 250 school leaders from 46 states completed the survey. Sixty percent of respondents represented rural districts, 32 percent represented suburban districts and 8 percent represented urban districts.

 

About AASA
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.