Tracking the Cuts: The Dismantling of Our Public Schools

The Philadelphia City Paper’s Daniel Denvir published this story today about a 12-year-old girl who began experiencing an asthmatic episode while at school, did not get the medical attention she needed because there was no school nurse available thanks to budget cuts, and died later that day.

While it cannot be determined for certain if the girl, 12-year-old Laporshia Massey, would have survived had a school nurse been on-site, we do know this much, according to the City Paper:

  • The School District of Philadelphia, long underfunded and now reeling from budget cuts implemented by Gov. Tom Corbett, has nearly 3,000 fewer staff members than it did in June.
  • Today, there are 179 nurses working in public, private and parochial schools, down from 289 in 2011.
  • Bryant Elementary, where Massey was attending school, only has one nurse on staff two days/week.
  • After the initial cuts, one protesting nurse at Bryant Elementary specifically warned that other staff were not competent to deal with asthmatic students in her absence.

North Carolina is dealing with its own school budget cut woes thanks to reduced spending on education by state lawmakers this year. We’re tracking the cuts local school districts have had to make — click here to read those accounts.

While I have not yet seen reports of eliminating school nurse positions, I have seen reports of eliminating school psychologist positions, in addition to teacher assistants, teachers, and administrative staff.

Do you have school budget cuts to report or stories to tell that are a direct consequence of reduced funds for your school? Let us know at lindsay@ncpolicywatch.com

Kannapolis City Schools reports that they had to eliminate 20 positions for 2013-14 thanks to reductions in state spending on education.

Ellen Boyd, KCS’ director for community relations, reported the following cuts to NC Policy Watch:

  • We eliminated 20 positions due to cuts in state funding. The positions are specified below. Only one person lost a job due to the reductions. We absorbed the other cuts through attrition and transferring personnel among our schools. However, as you can see, the cuts are significant and affect the school and classroom levels.
    • 7 regular classroom teacher positions
    • 5 EC teaching positions
    • 1 ESL teaching position
    • 2 Literacy Coach positions
    • 1 Math Coach position
    • 1 Spanish teacher position
    • 2 Teacher Assistant positions
    • 1 Health & Wellness Coordinator position
  • We cut $244,815 from our supply budget (72% of the supply budget)
  • We closed our Alternative Program location to save $125,000. Our alternative program is now operating inside of our high school instead of having its own separate site.

Click here to see our growing list of school districts that have been forced to make difficult cuts for the 2013-14 school year thanks to reductions in state-level education spending.

trackingCuts-web-600New Hanover County Schools lost state funds for 54 teachers and 22 teacher assistants, according to CFO Mary Hazel Small.

The school system was able to keep these positions for 2013-14 by using local funds, but they will all be eliminated next year through attrition.

New Hanover County Schools joins a growing list of school districts that have been forced to make difficult cuts for the 2013-14 school year thanks to reductions in state-level education spending.

trackingCuts-web-600Wilkes County Schools reports that they have had to cut eight teaching positions, seven teacher assistant positions, three media assistants and 1.5 central office positions.

Wilkes’ Superintendent Dr. Marty Hemric told the Wilkes Journal-Patriot that thanks to state budget cuts over the past five years, the school district has lost of over 100 school positions, including 51 teacher assistants (from 126 in 2008-09 to 75 now), 35 certified teachers (from 484 ½ in 2008-09 to 449.25 now), 15½ central office administrative positions and three media assistants.

Even more positions would have been lost since 2008 if the Wilkes school system hadn’t been able to use federal funds provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (also known as stimulus funding) and the Race To The Top initiative to compensate for cuts in state and local funding.

Wilkes County Schools joins a growing list of school districts that have been forced to make difficult cuts for the 2013-14 school year thanks to reductions in state-level education spending.

trackingCuts-web-600Add Vance County Schools to the list — they’ve had to cut eight teaching positions and 12 teacher assistant positions for 2013-14.

Terri Hedrick, Public Information Officer for VCS, reports:

  • Cut teaching positions by eight positions
  • Cut teacher assistant positions by 12 positions
  • No layoffs have occurred; through attrition the teacher assistants have been placed in other positions; we simply did not fill eight vacant teaching positions
  • We were cut $572,643 in state funds for teaching positions
  • We were cut $468,134 in state funds for teacher assistant positions
  • We were cut $105,212 in state funds for instructional support positions (placed in other positions, i.e., assistant principals/lead teachers)
  • We were cut $32,395 in state funds for classroom materials
  • Our total state budget cuts from last year to the new school year totaled $333,257

Check out our growing list of school districts that have been forced to make difficult cuts for the 2013-14 school year.