https://www.crpe.org/sites/default/files/rr_crpe_wageslayoffs_jul09_0.pdf

The Tradeoff Between Teacher Wages and Layoffs to Meet Budget Cuts

July 2009

Facing 
huge
 budget 
gaps,
 are 
school 
district 
officials 
forced 
to 
lay 
off 
teachers?
 It’s 
true
 that 
teacher 
salaries 
make 
up 
the
 largest 
slice
 of
 the 
district 
budget 
pie,
 but 
salary 
costs
 can
 be
 cut
 without
 layoffs.
 Rather
 than
 handing
 out
 pink
 slips,
 some
 districts
 have
 explored
 rolling 
back 
salaries.

An estimated 60%–80% of the more than $500 billion per year spent operating the nation’s public schools goes directly to paying and supporting school employees. Much of the money is directed to basic teacher salary costs. The
 problem
 for 
many 
locales, 
however, 
is 
that 
wages
 are 
often 
decided 
many 
years 
in advance,
 via 
collective 
bargaining 
agreements.


In 
contrast,
 decisions
 about 
how 
to 
close budget
 gaps 
get 
made 
just 
ahead 
of 
the 
affected 
school 
year 
as 
revenue
 projections 
are finalized.
 Sometimes
 in
 closing
 gaps,
 district
 leaders
 treat 
salary 
decisions
 made
 years ago 
as immovable 
(which 
they 
are 
not) 
and 
focus 
only 
on 
furloughs 
and 
layoffs.

This
 Rapid
 Response 
brief 
demonstrates 
the 
effect 
on 
wages, 
layoffs, 
and
 class 
sizes 
of 
a range 
of 
policy 
options 
available 
to 
districts 
forced 
to 
cut 
salary 
expenditures.