Fewer school layoffs; districts use attrition, shared services, reserve funds to manage budgets
FOR RELEASE: May 19, 2014
CONTACT: Al Marlin
(518) 783-3723 or (518) 527-6933 cell
On Twitter: @nyschoolboards
A substantial majority of school districts expect no actual layoffs of teaching or non-teaching staff in the 2014-2015 school year, according to a recent survey conducted by the New York State School Boards Association.
Eighty percent of 283 school business officials responding to the NYSSBA survey said they do not expect to lay off employees based on their budgets for next year. About 20 percent said they plan to impose layoffs.
“The good news is that school districts are holding the line on layoffs in 2014-15,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. “The bad news is that they were able to hold the line because they have had to make substantial numbers of layoffs in recent years due to the depressed economic climate.”
According to the State Education Department, more than 7,000 of the state’s teachers were laid off in 2011 and 20,000 teaching positions were lost over the three years prior to that.
However, Kremer warned that even without layoffs, schools may still lose staff in the coming year. Schools, for example, are not replacing staff lost to attrition, reducing some employees from full-time to part-time status, and considering retirement incentives – all of which could affect staffing levels.
Sharing services becoming widespread
Two-thirds (65 percent) of respondents to the survey said their school districts plan to share services with other districts in the 2014-15 school year. The most common areas in which districts are sharing services include transportation, athletics, special education, technology, business functions and food service. Schools are also sharing teachers, maintenance, purchasing and health services.
“Schools understand the new economic reality of living within the tax cap. This year’s cap was punishingly low, yet many schools avoided layoffs thanks in large part to managing costs in other areas and putting additional state aid to good use,” said Kremer.
According to the survey, some schools are adding services, with the most common being full-day kindergarten and elective courses. Survey respondents also indicated the possibility that some districts will hire more teachers. Nearly half (49 percent) of the respondents said they could see an increase in teaching staff.
The survey of 611 school business officials was conducted in May 2014.
About NYSSBA: The New York State School Boards Association represents more than 650 school boards and more than 5,000 school board members in New York. NYSSBA provides advocacy, training, and information to school boards in support of their mission to govern the state's public schools.