Friday, August 20, 2010

What's missing for back-to-school? 135,000 teachers

 By Tami Luhby, senior writer
August 20, 2010:

NEW YORK ( -- More children are crowding into classrooms in Modesto, Calif. Parents are paying extra to send their kids to full-day kindergarten in Queen Creek, Ariz. And the school buses stopped rolling in one St. Louis area school district. These are but a few of the unwelcome changes greeting children as they start the school year. Tight fiscal times are forcing school districts to lay off teachers, enlarge class sizes, cut programs and charge for services that were once free.

"School districts are going to be stripped down from what there were a few years ago," said Jack Jennings, head of the Center on Education Policy, an advocacy group. "They are really feeling the economic squeeze." The national economic downturn has sucked state coffers dry, forcing cuts to school districts and municipalities. The Obama administration's stimulus package softened the impact, but many districts still found themselves having to downsize.

"Every student is being affected in some way or another," said Dan Domenech, executive director of the America Association of School Administrators.

Teachers are experiencing the brunt of the budget cuts this year, even though Congress last week gave states an additional $10 billion to keep an estimated 140,000 educators and support staff employed. Still, the number of teachers who won't have a job this school year could be as high as 135,000, experts said.

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