Though the recession has forced school districts nationwide to make cuts, schools in and around Burke have not had to lay off teachers.
According to Paul Regnier, coordinator, communication and community outreach for Fairfax County Public Schools, there has been no hiring freeze in the past two years. Although some teachers have been replaced due to resignations or retirements, no teaching positions have been eliminated.
Burke and Springfield schools are among those in Fairfax County mostly unaffected by the recession. Cherry Run Elementary School, for example, "has a full staff allocation and did not lose any staff," said Principal Mark Bibbee. "We are operating the same this year as we have in past years."
Keene Mill Elementary was also allocated the same number of teachers as last year and experienced no layoffs. A few staff members, including a kindergarten teacher, a part-time physical education teacher, and a music teacher, were replaced but only because previous teachers left or retired.
"It's all by formula, and the school board didn't change the formula," said Keene Mill Elementary School Principal Nick Rousos.
In fact, several schools in Burke have hired at least one new teacher to accomodate an increase in students this year, including Sangster Elementary and Kings Park Primary.
In some cases, the school system has spread itinerant teachers more thinly.
"It is much tougher to operate now than before, but that is across the school system," said Paul Wardinski, principal, West Springfield High School. The hardest hit WSHS has taken over the past couple of years is the loss of a custodian and a counselor. The loss of the counselor has brought the number of students per counselor up.
"Itinerant staff has been spread among more schools as well, so we don't have them as many days per week as we did before, " Wardinksi said.
Some teachers have had to accept more work and higher accountability as class sizes increase.
"The staff and faculty we do have remaining are absolutely amazing," said Wardinski. "I am truly blessed to have my staff working on behalf of our students every day. They are dedicated, knowledgeable, caring professional educators."
The information regarding FCPS teaching positions is very well aligned with Occupational Employment Statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to highlights from May 2009, just 15 occupations accounted for more than one-quarter of U.S. employment, one of those being elementary school teachers.
The increase in the number of students and class sizes in FCPS from last year may aid these employment trends. The number of teachers each school may hire is determined by how many students are set to attend that school the next year.
Elementary school teachers, along with postal service mail carriers and correctional officers and jailers, also had the highest employment among all occupations in federal, state, and local government. In total, local government-owned schools employed 1.4 million elementary, 609,070 middle, and 977,150 secondary-school teachers.