The battle over whether Wisconsin's public schools are doing the same, better or worse after reforms signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker took another turn Tuesday when the state Department of Public Instruction released a heap of new school staff data.
The latest annual staff report shows a loss of 2,312 full-time positions in Wisconsin's 424 districts during the 2011-'12 school year, which represents a 2.3% loss in school staff statewide from the previous year.
For teachers specifically, the state's schools reduced educator positions by 1,446 in 2011-'12, a loss of 2.4% from the previous year. Student enrollment in the state remained stable over the past year, according to DPI officials.
School staff decreased during the last year that Gov. Jim Doyle was in office, too, but less so than under Walker. From the 2009-'10 school year to 2010-'11, statewide school staffing dropped by 1.5% and teacher staff positions dropped by 1.3%.
The report's data comes from staffing information districts submit to the DPI each year, which is finalized in early spring and generally uploaded to a searchable website with little fanfare.
But since a dispute arose last week between the state's largest teachers union and Walker's office about a set of school climate surveys, the DPI released the most current year's school staff data alongside comparison data reaching back eight years to 2003-'04. The data show how many full-time administrators, teachers, aides, pupil services workers and other workers districts employed.