Since the start of the legislative session, speculation has abounded about how cuts to public education would affect educators' jobs. With the release of the 2011-12 school district employment figures, the Texas Education Agency has an answer. Schools employ about 25,000 fewer employees than they did at this time last year — a 3.8 percent decrease that includes teachers, administrators and other staff.
It will take more to answer how budget cuts have affected the state’s public schools, but the figures provide a window into the kinds of decisions the state’s 1,200-plus school districts and charter schools are making to cope with a $5.4 billion reduction in funding.
Here are some initial takeaways:
- There are fewer teachers in public schools — just under 11,000, about a 3.2 percent decrease.
- The most commonly eliminated positions were those having to do with teacher support — staff members who help educators with professional development outside of the classroom, often filling in for overstretched principals.
- No positions are safe. Districts are trimming staff in all areas, from administrators to librarians to teachers aides, to yes, teachers.
The only other time that the number of teachers has gone down from year to year, according to Ed Fuller, an education professor at Pennsylvania State University and former University of Texas researcher who has analyzed staffing data for every year since 1987, was in 2004, following a nearly $10 billion state budget shortfall. That is as the enrollment in public schools has grown steadily since the early 1990s.
Also: the numbers from the current school year come with the caveat that many districts, depending on their financial status, will undergo further cuts next year.
Using the app
Use the table below to compare the number of FTE* employees between Texas school districts. Use the drop down to select the different criteria. Use the search in the filter box to find your school.
With Fuller's help, we've broken down the vast number of positions reported to the TEA into broader categories.
Most of them are self-explanatory, but a note on the ones that aren't:
-"Specialized educators" include speech and physical therapists, audiologists, interpretors, diagnosticians.
-"District managers" include human resources and business personnel
-"Other district professionals" is a catch all that includes tax assessors and other non-instructional employees.
*FTE is a number that represents employees in a way that makes the count comparable across different contexts. For example, one full-time employee would equal 1.0 FTE. A part-time employee would equal 0.5 FTE. The number of full-time and part-time employees summed equal the FTE.