Monday, February 25, 2013

Wondering about sequestration . . .

I assume you have been reading about and hearing a lot about the likelihood of sequestration and the possible impact on schools across the country.  If it takes place as expected there will be a 5.3% cut to the federal education department budget effective March 1st.  Fortunately, any potential cut would not be in place until the 2013-14 budget.

So, what might this mean for us?  The first area where we would experience a cut is to our Title 1 program that currently supports our elementary reading intervention program.  Because of our relatively low free and reduced lunch numbers, we receive less than $100,000 in Title 1 funding so a 5.3% cut would not be significant in our budget.

The second area where we receive federal funding is in our special needs program with about $1.3 million.  We also last year received about an additional $1 million through the federal safety net program.  This is critical funding for this program, but if a 5.3% cut were in place we can plan for it in next year's budget through student placement decisions.

This is one time where not receiving significant federal funding is actually a positive for our system.  Districts that receive a significantly higher percentage of their funding from the federal government will experience the more dramatic cuts that we hear about in the media as will other departments where the cuts will be felt immediately.


Jonathan said...

I like to step back at times and try to put the current education debate in a larger context.

For the last several years there have been austerity measures enacted worldwide, as well as by states in the US, through cuts to most social programs.

Many of the most costly national programs are now facing 10% cuts through 'sequestration'. Cuts to these programs that are overwhelmingly supported by the people would not happen without the 'crisis' of sequestration.

These cuts are right in line with the economic approach of Neoliberalism*, though, and continue the approach enacted the last few years by the states. I don't know, but it might be easier to blame each other and sequestration rather than propose the cuts?
they really want

*From Wikipedia: Neoliberalism is a political philosophy whose advocates support economic liberalization, free trade and open markets, privatization, deregulation, decreasing the size of the public sector and increasing the role of the private sector in modern society.

Brenda Running said...

I'm wondering if you could elaborate on your comment about Special Education. "This is critical funding for this program, but if a 5.3% cut were in place we can plan for it in next year's budget through student placement decisions." How would student placement decisions differ from the way they are currently made? How will it directly impact our special needs students?