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Infographic describing the OUSD projected school site staffing cuts for the 201-2011 school year.

Follow the money: OUSD projected staffing cuts

on May 12, 2010

The Oakland Unified School District is set to cut $85 million from its budget next year.  Inevitably, this will include some cuts to staffing.  The infographic above reflects the projected staffing cuts in the Oakland Unified School District for the 2010-2011 school year.

Staffing cuts in the district are allocated based on the idea of “Full Time Equivalencies” or FTEs. One FTE is the equivalent cost of one full-time job, but it does not necessarily make up an individual position. For example, cutting 1 FTE could mean cutting the all the working hours of one full-time staff person, or it could mean cutting two full-time staff jobs to half-time. It could also mean cutting other costs in a way that would not result in letting a staff member go at all.  Finally, because school sites do their own budgeting, different schools will handle their cuts differently. The illustrated FTE cuts are a projection by the district of what is likely, not a definite picture of what will be.

This calculation has an added complication: In monetary terms, the FTE of one administrator is worth more in dollars than the FTE of one teacher due to differences in salaries.  However, there are far more teachers than administrators, so there are more teaching positions available to cut. (Similarly, the salaries of secretaries, school nurses, buildings and grounds staff, and others differ in the dollar value of what constitutes an FTE.)

Each bar in the infographic compares the number of school site FTEs for 2009-2010 with the projected number of FTEs for 2010-2011. This past year, the OUSD listed 2,525 FTEs at the school sites.  Next year the district projects having 2,296 FTEs, a difference of 229 FTEs, or 9 percent.  How these cuts will affect individual schools is still being determined at each school site in Oakland.

Though the steep budget cuts will necessitate trimming in many areas, we focused here on school site staff, which includes teachers, administrators, English as a Second Language support staff, school counselors and office staff, among others. It is important to note that a number of district-level staff including administrators, bookkeepers and buildings and ground employees are projected to be cut as well.  (The full Power Point presentation produced by the district detailing staffing cuts at all levels was introduced to the public at the April 28, 2010, school board meeting and is available here.)

In Golden Gate, all three schools will receive less public funding next year since the amount the state is providing per student will decrease. But Santa Fe Elementary, a traditional public school, is likely to be hit the hardest by cuts.  This is because charter schools usually have a more varied funding base than traditional public schools, which are often more dependent on government funding.  However, even traditional public schools have begun searching for funding from outside the standard sources. The principal at Santa Fe, Carol Johnson, pointed out that she and her staff have secured a number of grants to help with extra programs and special projects at the school.  Like other traditional public school leaders in Oakland, Johnson is at the beginning of the school site budgeting process that will continue into the summer, so nothing definite can yet be said about staffing cuts at her campus.

The charter schools reported a clearer picture of their budget situations for 2010-2011.  Mariah Mills, a teacher at Civicorps, one of the neighborhood charter schools, said the school had had to cut some hours, and in one case a full position, from their support staff.  Christine Landry, the principal at Berkley Maynard Academy, the other neighborhood charter, said she did not anticipate cutting any staffing for the 2010-2011 school year.  She said Aspire, the charter management organization that launched Berkley Maynard, had begun keeping tighter books a few years ago in anticipation of the cuts.

Text also by Christina Lash and Jason Hirschhorn.

What do you think of the way budget cuts are being handled by OUSD? What do you think should be the most important budgetary concern for the district? Join in the conversation below!

1 Comment

  1. Jim T on May 15, 2010 at 1:24 am

    Not to be too picky, but for an article on education, we might want to make sure our chart is spell-checked. The word is “equivalency” not “equivelency”….

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