Nearly 84 percent of the nation’s school districts anticipate funding shortfalls in the upcoming school year, and a majority of those districts (some 64 percent) plan to cut staff to make up the deficits, according to a report released this morning [PDF] by the Washington-based Center on Education Policy.
The report, which is based on a survey of school districts nationwide, attributes the bleak forecast to the fact that many districts have reached a so-called “funding cliff” after exhausting (or nearly exhausting) funds from the federal economic-stimulus and education jobs packages.
All told, according to the report, 46 percent of districts nationwide plan to cut teaching jobs for the 2011-12 school year, while 41 percent plan to make cuts in administrative or support staff. Cuts are anticipated for teaching jobs in non-core subjects at a somewhat higher rate than for those in core subjects (55 percent to 40 percent in districts expecting budget shortfalls).
But the layoffs could be even worse than projected, according to the report, because many districts had not yet decided where to cut at the time of the survey.
The report notes that continued budget woes are inevitably impeding school-improvement efforts. Some 54 percent of the districts anticipating shortfalls in 2011-12 reported that they “expect to slow progress on reforms or postpone or stop reform initiatives.” That’s on top of many disticts that responded that reform programs had already been hindered in 2010-11.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.