August 1, 2014

Next year’s education budget may cause loss of 3,800 positions (AUDIO)

State Education Superintendent Jim Dr. Rex says next year’s job loss projections for South Carolina’s public school system are expected to be worse than this year’s. Rex says, according to the current state budget, up to 3,800 positions will be cut, including 2,500 teachers. He says some of those will be through lay offs, some through vacated positions not being filled. There are 2,200 fewer positions this school year than last year, including fewer 1,400 teachers.

Rex says the remaining teachers face pay cuts in the form of unpaid furloughs.  He says that amounts to removing about $20 million from the state’s economy. Rex says in some smaller communities, schools are the largest employers, so businesses will be hurt.

The projections are based on an Education Department survey of local school districts as they develop their budgets. Officials say a similar survey last year actually ended up underestimating K-12 job cuts statewide.

Rex now is the time for citizens and parents concerned about education to speak out, and for lawmakers to get serious.  He says he’s not necessarily in favor of raising taxes, but broadening the tax base.

(Rex on layoffs  MP3  2:30)
Rex on lay offs

Rex says he knows of some cases where school system employees are losing their houses because they lost their jobs.

Rex says parents will see class size increase. And he said according to the current projections for next year, there will only be enough funding to pay for bus fuel for 122 days. The school year is 180 days.

And Rex says the long-term problem is that future teachers are being scared away from the profession.