PPS: What Results from Staff Reductions?

Following last night’s school board meeting, the Pittsburgh Public Schools will have fewer staff members at the start of the 2012-13 school year, including 176 K-12 teachers. A look at the audited financial statements of the District shows what we have pointed out for many years: enrollment continues to fall. In the 2005-06 school year there were 32,529 students, and at the beginning of the 2011-12 school year that just concluded there were 26,652 students. Note that in the audit enrollment is taken on the first day of school. Recent numbers provided by the District that we reported in a blog put enrollment at 24,624 on the last day of the 11-12 year.

If we use the audited enrollment and audited headcount shows that all classifications of employee groups fell from 2005-06 through 2011-12 with the exception of health service, which reported one more employee in 11-12 than in 05-06. Administration, instruction, pupil affairs, operations/maintenance, and food service all reported fewer employees. The key measure is the group in instruction identified as teachers: in 2005-06 there were 2,722 and the pupil-teacher ratio was 11.9. In 11-12 there were 2,196 and the pupil-teacher ratio was 12.1.

If the layoff/furlough of teachers stands, there will be 2,020 (assuming pre-K teachers who were laid off are not included in this total) teachers at the start of the 2012-13 school year that begins next month. If enrollment at the beginning of the year remains around 24k or so the pupil-teacher ratio will not change much. If enrollment at the beginning of the year slides even further from the 24k, let’s say to 23,900 on the first day of 2012-13 with 2,020 teachers, the pupil-teacher ratio will stand at 11.8.