Report Summary: Staff to Student Ratios

Following last year’s special session, the Vermont General Assembly instructed the Agency of Education (AOE) to establish a task force to examine staffing patterns among Vermont’s supervisory unions and school districts (SU/SDs). This task force was to examine student:staff ratios across a variety of school configurations and student demographics. One of the stated goals General Assembly requested of the task force was to consider whether staff-to-student ratios should be included in statute for the FY 2021.

This full report can be read at the link here. Below is a brief summary of their findings.

By the numbers:

Points of finding:

  • The task force did not recommend any standards for evaluating student:staff ratios. The stated reason for this was that “the task force found no research to support recommendations for statewide standards for class size (student-to-general education teacher), special education teachers, district or school administration, or student support personnel.”
  • The task force states that they did not have the necessary resources to investigate the factors influencing staffing patterns. Such factors include barriers staffing flexibility and varying
    student need from school to school.
  • On average, SU/SDs with the largest student enrollments have 15.6 students per general education teacher, whereas SU/SDs with the smallest student enrollments have 12.6 students per general education teacher.
  • SU/SDs with the largest student enrollments have the largest number of students per special education teacher – on average, 66.4 students per teacher.
  • There is minimal difference in student support staff ratios across all school sizes.
  • SU/SDs with higher percentages of students with IEPs also have lower student-teacher
    ratios than SU/SDs with fewer students with disabilities.
  • SU/SDs with the lowest percentages of students living in economically-deprived households also have the highest student-teacher ratios.
  • The number of student support staff per student in an SU/SD decreases as the share of students residing in economically-deprived households increases.
  • SU/SDs located in the state’s most sparsely populated areas (quartile 1) have fewer students per each SU/SD administrative staff member (82 students per staff person) than do SU/SDs located in more populated areas (quartile 4; 95.9 students per staff person).
  • SU/SDs located in the state’s sparsely populated areas (quartile 1) have 11.6 students per general education teacher, whereas SU/SDs in the most populated areas (quartile 4) have 15.8 students per teacher.
  • There was no distinguishable pattern in the number of students per special education teacher among SU/SDs located in more and less populated areas.

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