Burbio School Tracker 3/27:  Structural Deficits

This week we look at CTE and ELL in ESSER III plans, a case study of a district facing declining enrollment, 2022/23 enrollments from New York, and more

1.  This week we start off with a chart that shows the percent of districts that are using terms related to English Language Learners (ELL) and Career and Technical Education (CTE) in our database of over 7,000  ESSER III plans.   For ELL we searched using twenty related terms (e.g. "English learner," "bilingual," "ELL," etc.) and for CTE thirteen (e.g. "career training," "Perkins Act" etc.)   Below are the percentage of districts that use any term at least once in their ESSER III plans broken down by district locale and size:  


2. Earlier this month we took a look at some preliminary 2024 budgeted expenditures from Maryland, Virginia, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.  Below are some FY 204 preliminary budgets from New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire, plus Seattle.  Some notes follow the chart: 


Seattle's budget presentation offers a representative example of a district struggling with enrollment declines.  It is particularly clear in laying out the economic trade-offs certain districts are facing, irrespective of ESSER III funding dynamics.  Among the highlights:  

  • The district reports being "at the tipping point . . . Structural Deficit has grown to $131 million."  The term "Structural Deficit" is one we see referenced frequently among districts facing long-term enrollment declines.  When used in the context of government spending, this term refers to deficit levels that will persist even in the face of normal economic activity. 

  • In 2014, the district had 48,528 students and 5,609 staff.  In 2023, the district had 49,414 students and 7,012 staff.  Enrollment has declined 6.3% since 2020 with further declines projected. 

  • The $131 million "resource gap" for FY 2023/24 is being closed with $47MM of reductions plus a series of special revenue items, $28.4MM of which is labeled "Legislative - potential."   Of the reductions, $29MM of the $47MM have been identified.  

  • Revenue is projected to increase by $41MM in 2024/25, with expenditures basically flat. The resulting $93MM resource gap is filled with $23MM in reductions, $28MM in school consolidations, plus special revenue items, $27.2MM of which is labeled "Legislative - Potential." 

  • The document serves as a kick-off to a consolidation discussion for 2024/25

3.  New York recently announced their 2022/23 enrollment, which dropped by 0.8%, versus a 2% decline the previous year.   Below is the trend by locale, with this most recent year in yellow:


New York, like many states, saw a decline in the City locale.  We thought it would be interesting to show some details behind that figure. Below are the ten largest City districts in the state with their 2023 enrollment change indicated: 


Note: NCES classifies Yonkers, NY as a suburb, which is why it isn't included above. 

Below are the grade-level trends in the state of New York.  In grades K-12, only first grade and tenth grade increased.   That is similar to other states where those grades had the largest increase due to pandemic-related enrollment timing (first grade) and academic advancement (tenth grade) issues:


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