Impact of Budget Cuts on K-12 Education. Research conducted by Libby Rasmussen, Ellen Joyce, Mariel Hooper, Ted Randazzo and Jon Squicciarini. Prepared for PSCI 12: Public Policy and Administration A Community-Based Learning Course at Drew University
Research conducted by Libby Rasmussen, Ellen Joyce, Mariel Hooper, Ted Randazzo and Jon Squicciarini Prepared for PSCI 12: Public Policy and Administration A Community-Based Learning Course at Drew University In partnership with the United Way of Northern NJ, Morris County May 2011
Introduction The question from the United Way on the impact of budget cuts on K-12 education is: What has been the impact of statewide budget cuts and subsequent local district cuts on schools, students, school administration and faculty?
Introduction In response to the education crisis in New Jersey due to the economic downfall, budgets, programs, and faculty are being cut now more than ever. In this report, we will look at what has been the impact of statewide budget cuts and subsequent local district cuts on schools, students, administrators, families, faculty, and the ALICE population in Morris County.
Introduction Our report uses Morris County as a key example of how the state budget crisis has impacted specific school districts. Morris County school districts have struggled greatly in deciding what the best plan is for their budgets and most importantly, their students. Despite Morris County’s relatively affluent status, and its lack of any Abbott districts, the budget cuts still pose a challenge for the county.
Summary In 2011, the crisis was due to the closing of a $2.2 billion gap in the state budget to keep the state solvent through the end of the current fiscal year. The state administration is now addressing the $10.7 billion deficit for the upcoming 2012 fiscal year.
Current Policy Landscape Federal Government Aid School salary and benefit costs in New Jersey are the highest in the nation – and they are rising at over three times the rate of inflation and far faster than similar costs in the private sector. Federal stimulus money helped balance school district budgets in this current fiscal year. Due to the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, the Federal government paid for the salaries of approximately 16,000 school district employees. (Education Commissioner, Bret Schundler)
Current Policy Landscape State Government Aid The New Jersey state aid in 2010 was roughly 11.1 billion. In 2011, it was around 10.3 billion, decreasing 7.4% from the previous year. According to the State of New Jersey Department of Education, Governor Christie is providing an additional $250 million for New Jersey schools in his fiscal year 2012 budget. The programs and services included in this state aid are: special education, transportation, school building aid, etc.
Current Policy Landscape Highlights of Governor Christie’s 2012 education budget include: Every school district would receive an increase in K – 12 state aid this year. Approximately one quarter of a billion dollars of new money would be added to direct state aid. About $219 million of these new funds would be added to the school funding formula, an increase of 3.2 percent in K – 12 formula aid. More than $11 million to be added to support expansion of the Inter-district School Choice program. Over $4 million is being added in state funding for public charter schools. Non-public school funding will remain the same.
Current Policy Landscape State Expenses How large are the expenses that the State directly covers for school districts? This year the State will directly cover $2.33 billion of school district expenses. Moreover, if the State had made the entire diverse pension fund payments that the New Jersey Education Association is demanding, that number would have been $5.33 billion. If the State returned these cost burdens back to school districts, districts would have to raise school district property taxes by about a third. (Education Commissioner, Bret Schundler)
Current Policy Landscape Local Government Aid Of the state aid for 2010-2011, Morris County received $202,540,416 from the New Jersey Department of Education
Current Policy Landscape School Election Results in Morris County: accepted budget in April 2010: 16 districts declined budget in April 2010: 24 districts In addition, a second ballot question in Boonton Township to fund courtesy busing was defeated A ballot question in Madison that would have restored junior high school sports and provided funds for a supervisor of the performing arts was defeated.
Results As this graph shows, the socioeconomic standing of districts is spread fairly evenly between voting to approve and voting to reject the budget. The poorest district (Dover) passed the 2010-2011 budget. (Morris County school budgets, board candidate election results. 4/20/2010)
Current Policy Landscape There is little to no correlation between a district’s average socioeconomic standing and the willingness of residents to vote for a school budget
Organizational Landscape Organizational Response Public Agencies & Private Groups Public Agencies Federal Programs aimed to support the integrity of education Support given through legislative acts, federal grants, and other funding No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 support out-of-school-time programs ex. 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program
Organizational Landscape Private Groups The United Way of Northern New Jersey helping communities cope with economic hardships advocates for quality education ensures that schools are meeting adequate standards (regardless of budget cuts) YEA (Youth Empowerment Alliance) CASEL Collaborative of Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning fights for the promise of better education schools provide the optimal education possible in light of the recent budget cuts
Consequences of Budget Cuts Only 16 out of 40 budgets were passed in Morris County in 2010 647.3 staff cuts throughout the county Average of 12.95 cuts per district Cuts not evenly distributed
Consequences of Budget Cuts Staff Cuts
Consequences of Budget Cuts Lessening Job Security 5,500 teachers in NJ filed for retirement in the first three weeks of July 2010 alone – over double the normal rate (Townes) Public sector used to be attractive because of job security – not anymore
Consequences of Budget Cuts Activity Fees 31 % of schools in NJ responding to NJSBA’s survey planned on instituting activity fees Ex: Montville: $100 mandatory fee for all students, regardless of participation Ex: Washington Township: $35 for clubs, $85 for sports Ex: Chester Township: $25 blanket fee for clubs, $50 for music groups, $50 per sport
Consequences of Budget Cuts Case Study: Eisenhower Middle School 662 students 1 language class (Spanish) offered every other day 1 art teacher, 1 computers teacher, general music class for 7th grade No sports, $75 activity fee for clubs, school play, afterschool help, etc. 1 principal, 1 vice principal, 2 guidance counselors, 3 secretaries
Policy Options: Pros and Cons Pay-to Play Making students pay to participate in after school activities is another option other than cutting them Cut Staff Many schools have been forced to fire some of their newer teachers in order to be able to afford their older, tenured teachers Lay off other staff members such as coaches, assistants, janitors etc. Cut Programs Some schools have cut honors and AP classes, as well as after-school programs
Policy Options: Pros and Cons Curb Administrative Salaries Enforce cap put on administrative salaries Higher Healthcare Contribution Increase the amount teachers contribute to their health insurance plans
Policy Options: Pros and Cons Consolidate School Districts Consolidation of school districts would help to curb costs by eliminating positions that are not needed Increase Levy on Property Taxes Many districts have been increasing property taxes based on the value of homes Payroll Freezes Teachers 1 year pay freeze Pros: Worked for Boonton Cons: Unacceptable for some Teachers
Policy Recommendations Administrative and Faculty Salary Issues Superintendent pay caps- the district and school boards need to start enforcing the caps and lower them completely. Although Christie has placed a cap on superintendent pay at $175,000, the Parsippany board of education has chosen to ignore that and even there new budget proposal is paying him about $220,000 (Goldberg, Dan). This pay cut, if implemented correctly, could greatly benefit a district that is instead raising taxes on high income families.
Policy Recommendations Administrative and Faculty Salary Issues (continued) In more than 425 districts, the median salary for an administrator was at least $100,000. Less than 2 percent of teachers — 1.6 percent — made $100,000 or more. (NJ.com) Administrative pay cuts can lead to a proper and more efficient allocation of resources. Teachers can get paid on a more equal level.
Policy Recommendations Teacher/Staff evaluations When cutting staff, consider teacher accountability and the programs affected by the loss/gain of the teachers. Making sure that if job cuts/ lay-offs need to happen, they are done where need be and evenly. Example: Pequannock School Districts have evenly divided cuts among administrations, teachers, and faculty. We believe that this is a good option to making sure that the cuts are even.
Policy Recommendations Consolidate School Districts Consolidation of school districts would help to curb costs by eliminating positions that are not needed. If less people were doing more than it would be easy to control costs. Example: Two small school districts would only need one superintendent.
Recap Temporary solution: -Supplemental community programs to provide the academic and extracurricular that schools are not currently able to afford. In the end: -The only way to save the education system is to educate and inspire the community, state government and federal government to stand behind our nation's schools and invest in the future.
A special thanks to… Liz Warner from the United Way Professor McGuinn The many teachers, administrators and students who were kind enough to let us interview them.