Public School Employment Up From a Year Ago
Notwithstanding the gnashing of teeth and doomsday prediction of diehard defenders of ever more spending on public schools, employment in the schools increased by 500 jobs in the Pittsburgh region from April 2010 to April 2011. While some reductions-or announced reductions are now in place-it is obvious that school districts have not been engaged in significant cutting.
The time of reckoning is at hand however as Federal stimulus funds have run out and state budget problems are likely to result in state spending cuts for education. As we have been warning for two years, the stimulus money was a trap. By allowing school districts to maintain spending levels rather forcing hard decisions, the state funding cuts will require much deeper reductions in staff and programs than would have otherwise been the case.
Our admonitions to have school boards ask teachers to take a pay freeze two years ago went unheeded, even derided. A pay freeze then would be worth several jobs now. But then greed by the unions and cowardice on the part of school boards is never a good combination for students or taxpayers.