BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Educators say state budget problems are forcing a growing number of public school districts into layoffs and other cost-cutting moves.

State services face a $1.6 billion shortfall in the budget year that starts July 1, and higher education and health care have been especially hard hit by months of cutbacks.

Donald Songy, associate executive director of the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents, tells The Advocate that even though state aid to public schools has been frozen, not cut, that does not mean public education is avoiding the pain.

Many school districts are reeling from flat sales and property tax revenue, which help fund schools, as well as skyrocketing teacher retirement and health insurance costs.

Gov. Bobby Jindal has recommended a third consecutive freeze in state aid for public schools.

(Information in the following story is from: The Advocate,