by Craig Hawkins, Communications Director
Nearly 10 percent of teacher, administrator and classified employee positions in Oregon schools have been eliminated over the past two years.
This sad piece of information comes from surveys of Oregon school districts conducted in September 2009 and 2010 by the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators (COSA) and the Oregon Association of School Business Officials (OASBO). More than half of Oregon districts participated in the surveys. Specifically, school districts and ESDs report that they have cut 8.9% of teaching positions, 9.7% of administrators and 8.1% of classified employees since the start of the 2009-10 school year.
As a result of the reduction in teaching positions, class sizes have grown by 11.9% at the elementary level, 11% at the middle school level and 15.7% at the high school level.
Fewer school days in nearly half of districts
In addition to the reduction in the school workforce and the growth in class sizes, the2010-11 school year will be shortened for many Oregon students, districts report. Slightly less than half (44%) of districts will be reducing the school year by one or more days, on average by about five days (four student-contact days and one in-service day).
School employees see pay shrink, benefits costs rise
For students, the shortened school year means a reduced education. For school employees, it also means a reduced paycheck. In addition, districts and employees are sharing the increasing costs of health insurance. Costs have risen nearly 15% overall, and employees are contributing about 16% more toward the cost of insurance more, in 2010-11, according to the latest survey. What’s more, a majority of districts and employees have been forced to adjust health insurance plans to prevent even-higher increases, including reducing benefits and increasing deductibles.
For descriptions of the budget situation in a number of districts, please scroll through these district stories.