Kansas – K-12 Employment Grows Faster Than Enrollment

December 16, 2010

For Immediate Release
Contact: James Franko

K-12 Employment Growing Faster Than Enrollment
Kansas has one of the highest employment-to-student ratios in the country, with non-teaching positions showing the greatest growth

Wichita – December 16, 2010 – A new study from Kansas Policy Institute shows that current K-12 employment in Kansas is 6.3% higher than in 2000, while enrollment increased just 1.9% over the same time period. State Department of Education data also indicate that Kansas school districts increased non-teaching jobs at a much greater rate than teachers; the number of teachers increased by 4.9% while all other employees increased 7.8%. “Profile and Comparison of Kansas K-12 Employment Levels” was written by Dr. Art Hall of the Center for Applied Economics at the University of Kansas using publically available data to help give context to K-12 policy discussions in Kansas.

“K-12 spending consumes roughly 53% of general fund spending in Kansas and personnel accounts for a vast majority of most districts’ total costs,” writes Dr. Hall. “In 1972, Kansas was 7% above the employee-to-student national average but by 2007 Kansas was 19% above the national average.” Kansas had the 8th highest employee-to-student ratio in the country in 2007, the most recent year for which comparative data is available.

KPI President Dave Trabert added that, “The only way we’ll be able to address the budgetary situation we face as a state is to have the best data possible on which to base decisions. Our hope is that this paper helps provide a better look at the current employment levels and how they have changed over time.”

The policy brief uses publically available data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Center of Education Statistics at the U.S. Department of Education, and the Kansas Department of Education. References to a school year as 2007 reflects the school year beginning in Fall 2007 and ending in Spring 2008; this same methodology is used with all dates in the paper unless otherwise noted.

Trabert continued, “On average, Kansas school districts have one employee for every 6.7 students. We must provide every Kansas student with an effective education but we must also ensure that schools are operating as efficiently as possible. Jobs and people are moving to states with lower state and local tax burdens because Kansans’ tax burden has been steadily rising. That trend must be reversed or we will continue to suffer the consequences.”

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