North Carolina public schools have lost 16,677.9 positions and laid off 6,096.7 people since the 2008-09 school year in response to state budget cuts, according to the most recent data reported by local school districts and released this week by the NC Department of Public Instruction. It is also important to note, that over that same period of teacher and educator job cuts, North Carolina public school enrollment has grown.
Teacher positions made up 35 percent of the positions lost. Teacher assistants made up 33 percent of the overall positions lost since 2008. Local school districts also cut central office staff, principals and assistant principals, instructional support positions and other non-certified staff. This is the first time since the Great Depression in the 1930s that North Carolina public schools have decreased the number of teacher positions during a time of student growth.
In 2012, education leaders say that they expect additional educator layoffs and position losses. In June 2012, $400 million in federal “EduJobs” funding will end. These federal dollars have been used by local school districts to preserve teaching and instructional support positions. More than 4,000 jobs are being covered by these funds in the 2011-12 school year.
The 2011-12 year showed the largest number of positions eliminated – 6,307.5 – and the largest number of layoffs, 2,418.1 but there have been steady cuts each year since 2008.
Local school districts were able to avoid layoffs in some cases by using attrition, retirements and usual turnover to meet some reduction targets, but the loss of positions still leaves schools and districts with the same or even more work to do with the people who are left in place once vacancies are cut and layoffs are completed. NCDPI collected information on positions lost and on individual employees who were laid off. Lay-off data (reductions in force/rifs) indicate the number of people who lost jobs unwillingly. The information on positions illustrates the gap between what is needed and what is provided to adequately serve and educate students. The data provided today reflect information from all local school districts except for Guilford and Duplin counties.
“When you look at these numbers, it is striking to think of the impact for students. There are fewer adults in schools, more students in each class in all grades and fewer staff to help students who may struggle or need help with learning,” said State Superintendent June Atkinson. “We are not keeping our state’s commitment to students when you look at staffing levels in North Carolina public schools.”
Spreadsheets showing complete summary and local education agency details of position reductions and layoffs (reductions in force, RIFs) are linked below.
Position Reductions (View Summary tab for statewide numbers.)