The Shifting Sands of PPS Employment

In a recent piece on education funding an analyst noted that "two-thirds of public school employment growth has been teachers (41%) or teacher aides (23%). The remaining one-third was comprised almost entirely of support staff in schools and district offices".

Has the Pittsburgh Public Schools followed this trend? A quick look at audited information on the job makeup in the District provides the answer. In 2000, there were 5,302 employees; 3,377 (64%) were identified as teachers, leaving 1,925 employees of the District doing something other than teaching: serving in administration, as principals, librarians, health service, food service, or operations. We’ll call these folks non-teachers and in 2000 there were 1.75 teachers for every 1 non-teacher.

Fast-forward to 2009. There are 417 fewer employees overall. The number of teachers is lower (2,315, down 1,000 or 31%) because there are fewer students. Compared to 2000, teachers now make up less than half of the total District employment, meaning that the majority of District employees fall into the class identified as non-teachers. The teacher/non-teacher ratio is now 0.90/1. In the employment category of administration the "clerical and other nonprofessional" sub-category has doubled in size to 826 employees in 2009. So what explains the rapid growth in this job classification and why has it happened during the time period when enrollment has continued to plunge?