There are over 1600 fewer jobs in Kansas public schools this 2010-2011 year than in the previous year. This number is in full time equivalents (FTE). Since some personnel work part time, the number of jobs lost is even higher. Statistics presented at the November State Board of Education meeting, compiled from school district data, provide this snapshot with more cuts to come.
Licensed personnel dropped from 42,065 in 2008-2009 to 41,249 now. An additional 472 FTE positions had been lost from the 2008-2009 school year. Teachers currently number 34,331 FTE with the rest being administrators, counselors, supervisors, etc. There are 26,937 FTE in non-licensed secretaries, teacher aides, food service personnel, etc., down from 27,872 FTE in 2008-2009. An earlier survey of school administrators’ plans suggested even more staff reductions. It appears that some schools were able to extend positions based on limited rainy day savings that is nearly exhausted.
Next year’s budget will be even more bleak. Education revenue will decline for several reasons.
We are approaching the “funding cliff,” the end of $400 million in federal “stimulus money” that has propped up Kansas school funding for two years.
Despite a slight upturn in recent monthly tax revenues, funding falls short of sustaining state programs.
Kansas will get a one-time federal “Edu-Jobs” grant in December. Disposition of that $92 million is in the hands of the Governor. Looking at all state general fund expenditures, there are increased needs due to the poor economy increasing case loads, nursing, and many other state services. State K-12 education, while over 50 percent of the state budget, is not the Governor’s sole concern.
Generally, schools will need $50 million of this $92 million to prevent further cuts. Any allocation of more than $42 million to non-educational usage by the Governor will definitely mean more cuts in Kansas education.
Because some stimulus funds were used to replace state underfunding, Kansas will have a $2,186,454 penalty in federal special ed funding for failure to maintain a “maintenance of effort” compared to 2006. Some other states used far more for “backfill.” To provide “maintenance of effort” for this $92 million in federal funds, at least $6 million would have to go to schools.
Kansas will suffer a drop in estimated revenue from loss in property evaluations (primarily gas and oil in southwestern Kansas and property devaluations in Johnson County) of about $29.8 million.
Increased numbers of free lunches increases the number of at-risk students, which will eat up an additional $13.6 million for at-risk funding.
Kansas will also see an estimated increase of about 1,350 students, primarily in Johnson County but also at Dodge and Garden Cities, for an increased cost of another $5.6 million.
Some small rural school districts have already faced red ink. After several decades of having 303 USDs, the disorganization of Hanston and attachment to Jetmore at this last KSBE meeting drops Kansas to 293 USDs with more school consolidations in process across Kansas.
Much uncertainty remains. Will state tax revenue continue to rise? Will the Governor-Elect push for a change in school funding? The new census will likely result in a shift to a majority of non-rural legislators; will they change the school formula and force more rural consolidation?
The hard figure of more than 1600 school jobs lost this last year goes in the “jobs lost” column for Kansas employment. For lobbyists who assert that every dollar that goes into state operations is a dollar from the pocket of business, there is the suggestion that state-funded jobs are “make work.” These figures bring home the fact that these are real jobs, no less valuable than private business jobs.