October 31, 2014

DPI releases school staffing numbers

New numbers show Wisconsin school districts cut more than 2300 positions for the 2011-12 school year, a 50 percent increase in staff losses from the previous year. Department of Public Instruction Superintendent Tony Evers said the numbers refute assertions made by Governor Scott Walker, painting a more optimistic picture on school staffing. “All I can say is that he and others that are arguing the other side are relying on survey data,” said Evers. “The issue is, how many human beings are working with kids?”

AUDIO: Bob Hague reports (1:05)

Sixty percent of the staff cuts, more than 1400, were teachers. Statewide, 311 of 424 school districts, or 73 percent, reported cutting teachers this year. “The data we have talks about specific positions that have been lost,” said Evers. “This last year the numbers have spiked significantly, and there’s no way that anybody can question those numbers.”

However, Governor Walker’s spokesman, Cullen Werwie, issued a statement putting a different spin on the numbers. “DPI’s data is further proof that Governor Walker’s reforms are working,” Werwie said. “More than 43 percent of all staff reductions in the state take place in just three school districts that have refused to adopt Governor Walker’s reforms (Milwaukee, Janesville, Kenosha). These three districts also account for 40% of all teacher reductions.”

READ: DPI staffing report (PDF)