ARLINGTON, Va. — The percentage of school districts making transportation cuts for the 2010-11 school year nearly doubled from the current year, according to a nationwide survey of school administrators released Thursday.
The study by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) found that 38 percent of districts plan to implement transportation cuts next school year. For the current school year, it was 20 percent; for 2008-09, it was 10 percent.
On a related note, the percentage of districts finding new transportation efficiencies also ballooned, from 9 percent in 2008-09 and 19 percent in 2009-10 to 39 percent in 2010-11.
Another key finding of the AASA survey was that more districts will be laying off teachers and support staff next year. The percentage of districts cutting core-subject teaching jobs rose from 37 percent in 2009-10 to 61 percent in 2010-11. Those cutting maintenance/cafeteria/transportation jobs rose from 25 percent in 2009-10 to 41 percent in 2010-11 (these job types were not separated in the survey).
After holding steady at 2 percent for both 2008-09 and 2009-10, the proportion of respondents considering reducing operations to a four-day school week mushroomed to 13 percent in 2010-11.
When asked how funding from last year’s stimulus package (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) impacted their state and local revenues, 87 percent reported that the stimulus dollars did not represent a funding increase. More specifically, only 10 percent of respondents reported that stimulus dollars represented any increase above state and local funding levels.
The AASA researchers said that the data continue to illustrate a “shell game” in which state budgets were cut only after it was known that the stimulus bill included money for education.
According to the survey, the stimulus act “played a vital and important role in helping stave off even more severe budget cuts to education funding.” But, AASA said, the cessation of stimulus dollars and continued budget strains at the state and local levels will further insulate schools from economic recovery and will likely translate into more budget cuts, more job cuts and fewer resources for school programs and personnel.
The AASA report was based on a survey of 453 school administrators conducted in March 2010. To view the full study, click here.