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Teacher Layoffs Increasing Across U.S.

Empty Classroom
Empty Classroom | Image by maroke/Shutterstock

Layoffs are hitting teachers nationwide, with no end coming anytime soon.

School districts around the United States have been struggling with declining student enrollment, inflation-related budget challenges, and the winding down of federal taxpayer spending related to COVID-19 relief, according to K-12 Dive.

School districts in California, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Texas are dealing with budget cuts, making layoffs more likely.

The San Diego Unified School District announced plans in March to cut over 220 full-time positions. Meanwhile, Public Schools of Brookline in Massachusetts are considering cutting all elementary foreign language teachers, four elementary literacy coaches, and half of the system’s technology specialists. Cuts are also expected in parts of Oregon at the campus level and administration.

Marguerite Roza, director of the Edunomics Lab at Georgetown University, is anticipating an increase in teacher layoffs over the next couple of years.

“When the [Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund] money came, it basically provided a stay of execution in the sense that there’s all this extra money, so you didn’t need to do the shrinking, right now, of your system,” Roza told K-12 Dive. But now districts “have to do the last four years of shrinking all at once instead of doing it gradually year by year. In fact, some of them, instead of shrinking, hired new people. So it’s kind of a double whammy.”

Texas teachers in some parts of the state are also facing layoffs, such as in Canutillo, Spring Branch, and Fort Worth, according to the teacher union Texas AFT.

Canutillo ISD is facing a deficit of $6 million that has led to layoffs and potential school closures. A budget that counted on an increase in state taxpayer money is part of the fault for this, according to Texas AFT.

In Spring Branch ISD, the district is also facing a budget deficit of $35 million, leading to 306 positions being cut.

Fort Worth ISD is looking at a $43.6 million deficit that has led to the loss of 133 jobs, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

Student enrollment saw a significant drop in the district, from 87,233 students in 2016 to 72,783 in 2023. Roughly four dozen campuses across the ISD are being reported as below 70% occupancy.

Keller ISD is also facing budget issues due to state regulations regarding campus security, purportedly lackluster state funding, inflation, and more.

Plano ISD is also facing a decrease in enrollment that could lead to future school closures.

Texas has also faced teacher retention and recruitment problems, as previously reported by The Dallas Express. The attrition rate faced a record high of 11.57%, up by 2.23%, resulting in a loss of 42,839 teachers for the 2021-2022 school year.

When comparing Dallas ISD across Canutillo, Spring Branch, Keller, and Plano ISD, Dallas ISD has performed more poorly when it comes to student achievement, according to the most recently available ratings from the Texas Education Agency.

Canutillo ISD received a B rating with a score of 86 for student achievement for the 2021-2022 school year. Spring Branch also received a B rating with a score of 83. Keller ISD and Plano ISD nearly received an A rating with a score of 89.

For the 2021-22 school year, only 41% of Dallas ISD students scored at grade level or above, with 18% mastering and 67% approaching their grade level. Dallas ISD received a C rating, scoring a 78 for overall student achievement.

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