Teachers, Technology and Training: Few Signs of Economic Improvement: Schools Will Strugle to Hold on to What They Have

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

With the economic news showing few signs of improving conditions, schools and districts will continue to face budgetary problems in the year ahead. This article discusses some implications as school leaders seek to maintain balanced budgets.

INTRODUCTION

The economic news continues to paint a troubling picture. Unemployment remains high and tax revenues across multiple streams show few signs of an imminent upswing. Some economists are predicting municipal bond defaults across the United States even as the federal government struggles to avert a technical default on its obligations. In this kind of environment, schools and districts will be hard pressed to find additional revenues to build programs. This article discusses some implications for schools and districts as they face continuing pressures to reduce spending.

HOW MUCH PAIN WILL BE INFLICTED?

For the past few years, public school districts have reduced costs, eliminated programs, and trimmed personnel to hold down year-over-year budget increases. However, built-in union contract raises, coupled with rising fuel costs, health insurance premium increases, and rising pension obligations all combine to make additional budget cuts necessary.

In the year ahead, at the least, union contracts will need to be reexamined and confronted to eliminate or modify built-in increases. The time has come to recognize that there is not sufficient money available to award significant employee raises every year. Negotiators will need to work hard to make savings possible. …