THE IMPACT OF STATIC OR DECLINING ENROLLMENTS ON STAFFING AND CURRICULA PRACTICES IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICTS OF THE SOUTH PENN SCHOOL STUDY COUNCIL, GROUP D (PENNSYLVANIA)

PARKER EUGENE MARTIN, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

This study determined the impact of static or declining enrollment on staffing and curricular practices in the public schools of the South Penn School Study Council, Group D, consisting of twenty school districts in a five-county area of Pennsylvania. Descriptive research was used to describe existing conditions and to gain information and insight. The methods of data collection were the use of a questionnaire and an interview with each superintendent. The questionnaire elicited information about concerns and practices in staffing, educational programming, and building closings from 1971-72 to 1981-82. The open-ended interview gained additional information. The greatest concern was staff reduction. From 1971-72 to 1981-82, enrollment dropped 19.6% while staff declined 5.0%, thus lowering the pupil-teacher ratios. Class sizes have decreased in all areas except special education. Staff characteristics have changed. Teachers are older, more experienced, and higher paid. Lower morale has resulted from insecurity because of furloughing, building closings, and labor strife. Attrition has been the primary vehicle for reducing staff. Elementary teachers and administrators have been reduced more than other personnel. In ancillary positions, music personnel, nurses, and middle school foreign language coordinators were eliminated most. Few eliminations occurred in the educational programs, athletic activities, and extra-class activities. Foreign language was the only curricular area with course terminations. Other courses were reduced in sections. Special education programs have increased. Most athletic curtailments occurred at the middle/junior high school level. Athletic activities have increased in female sports because of Title IX regulations. Only seven extra-class activities were terminated. Debate was curtailed most often. Of the thirty-nine schools closed, thirty-two were elementary schools. The main factors for closing were obsolescence, declining enrollment, and cost. Most buildings were sold or leased producing revenue. Other conclusions: (1) There was no proportional relationship between student enrollment decline and staff reduction. (2) Policies to deal with changing staff included retraining and methods to force turnover. (3) Performance assessment was preferred over seniority when determining furloughs. (4) There was no positive relationship between declining enrollments and the quality of education and/or student performance. (5) Community involvement in decision-making varied from full involvement to no involvement.

Subject Area

School administration

Recommended Citation

MARTIN, PARKER EUGENE, "THE IMPACT OF STATIC OR DECLINING ENROLLMENTS ON STAFFING AND CURRICULA PRACTICES IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICTS OF THE SOUTH PENN SCHOOL STUDY COUNCIL, GROUP D (PENNSYLVANIA)" (1983). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI8318167.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI8318167

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