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201,600 School Jobs Cut Since Mid-2008, Analysis Finds

We've written a lot about states and school districts trying to stave off job losses over the past couple years, helped in part by emergency federal stimulus aid. But how deep have the cuts been so far?

An analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities offers a snapshot of the pain to date. Local school districts have cut 201,600 jobs since employment peaked in August of 2008, says Michael Leachman of the CBPP, who draws from Bureau of Labor Statistics data, in an online essay.

In May alone, school districts, counties, and cities eliminated 28,000 jobs, about 17,500 of which were in school systems specifically, according to the BLS. It was the eighth straight month, and the 27th out of the last 33, in which total state and local employment declined, Leachman reports.

Overall state and local employment in government (not just education) has fallen by 535,000 since August 2008, says Leachman, whose organization studies the impact of fiscal and policy decisions on low- and middle-income citizens.

It should be interesting to see what happens to the numbers over the summer and fall, as the full brunt of federal stimulus aid drying up comes into focus. The education stimulus money provided states with a total of about $100 billion in emergency aid, while the separate Education Jobs Fund is giving them an additional $10 billion. School districts have until September of 2012 to obligate that pool of money.

"[T]he long, deep recession and its aftermath have deprived states and localities of revenue needed to pay salaries," Leachman writes. "Revenue in the states is nine percent below pre-recession levels."

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