Latest AASA Survey Finds Schools Bracing For Continued Budget Cuts

Contact: Kitty Porterfield , 703-875-0723,

ARLINGTON, Va., December 16, 2010 – School systems across the nation are bracing for additional budget cuts on the heels of expended federal emergency education funding. With state and local budgets unlikely to stabilize before FY2013 (school year 2013-14), schools have yet to experience the fiscal relief taking hold at the national level, according to a new survey of school administrators released today by the American Association of School Administrators. The study, “Surviving a Thousand Cuts: America’s Public Schools and the Recession,” is the tenth in a series of studies by AASA examining the impact of the continuing economic recession on schools. 

This study, based on a survey of 692 school administrators conducted in December 2010, finds that school districts report continued erosion of fiscal resources available to school districts. This erosion is compounded by the ending of federal stimulus dollars. School budget cuts across the country continue and are expected to continue into the 2012-13 school year. 

“This survey—the tenth in a series—gives a long-term perspective to the impact of the recession on school budgets,” said Daniel A. Domenech, AASA executive director. "School districts are bracing for more budget cuts at the same time as they prepare for the end of federal emergency funding. They will be faced with tough questions about items, programs and personnel that can be cut with the least impact to student achievement.” 

Across the nation, school districts anticipate budget cuts for both the 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years.

  • More than three quarters (84 percent) of districts described their district as inadequately funded, up from 83 percent reported in April 2010 and 76 percent in October 2009.
  • Three quarters (77 percent) of districts reported a cut in state/local revenues between the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years.
  • Nearly four-fifths (79 percent) of districts anticipate a cut in state/local revenues between the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years, compared to 15 percent expecting level funding and 4 percent expecting an increase. 

The data from the survey indicate that stop-gap efforts to avoid job cuts were short-lived and that reduction in force will continue to be a reality over the next few school years.

  • Nearly half (48 percent) laid off personnel for the 2010-11 school year and two thirds (66 percent) anticipate doing so in 2011-12.
  • Nearly one-fifth (16 percent) furloughed personnel for the 2010-11 school year and one-third (34 percent) anticipate doing so in 2011-12.
  • School districts, on average, reported 512 employees, and expect to make 17.8 job cuts in 2010-11 (3.5 percent) and 10.3 in 2011-12 (2.0 percent). 

The anticipated and reported increasing depth of these cuts reaches beyond personnel decisions to include increased class size, elimination or delay of instructional improvement initiatives, the elimination of summer school programs, school district consolidation, and even four-day school weeks. 

“While the leadership of Congress may have recently changed, the need for federal education policy that works remains greater than ever. AASA’s members—school administrators across the country—lead America’s public schools on a daily basis and have delivered clear priorities,” said Edgar B. Hatrick III, AASA president and superintendent of Loudoun County (Va.) Public Schools. 

“Congress and the Department of Education,” he added, “need to continue to work to ensure schools have the resources they need, and fully funding IDEA and completing ESEA reauthorization are two very important steps in the process.” 

“Even though educators can already report on the number of jobs cut, the rising increase in class size, and current test scores,” Domenech added, “ the long-range impact has yet to be realized and studied. We are years away from knowing how the budget realities will impact the long-term learning and achievement of today’s public school students.” 

The previous AASA Economic Impact Study series is available at A short video of AASA Executive Director Daniel A. Domenech and Noelle Ellerson, AASA assistant director of policy analysis and advocacy, discussing the new survey and its implications for public education in the coming years is available at . For continuing conversation about the survey and other key education issues, visit the AASA blog at and the AASA School Street blog at

About AASA
The American Association of School Administrators, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders across the United States. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children. For more information, visit

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