School districts across the state are once again being warned of potential upcoming cuts in their federal funding.
Kentucky Department of Education Commissioner Terry Holliday warned school principals last week of the negative consequences of an upcoming federal spending reduction process that includes sequestration, or the cancellation of budgetary resources.
“These spending reductions will have a devastating effect on Kentucky public school budgets,” Holliday said. “Without any federal legislative action to address the cuts, they will begin as early as January 2013 and continue through 2021.”
The cuts, Holliday said, would have a direct impact on jobs, students and the abilities of the districts to provide services through federal programs.
According to a KDE news release, calculations from the Congressional Budget Office (CB0) and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) show that funding for Kentucky public schools will be reduced by up to $61 million a year for the next 10 years, affecting more than 1,350 jobs and nearly 130,000 students.
The CBO predicts 7.8 percent cuts, while the CBPP predicts 8.4 percent cuts which will impact funding for the 2013 fiscal year which begins Oct. 1, 2012.
While the exact amount of a reduction to local schools is unknown, Clark Public Schools Superintendent Elaine Farris said it could be nearly $300,000, and result in a loss of services and a cut in certified positions in the district.
“A cut of federal funding to our district of $238,000 to $278,000 would result in the loss of approximately five certified positions — teachers, instructional specialists, special needs support positions— and one classified position — language interpreter,” Farris said. “These positions are used to provide classroom size reduction in our elementary schools, to provide interventions and additional support to our at-risk students and to provide support services to our migrant population.”
The cuts would also result in fewer dollars for instructional resources for the district’s Career and Technical Education program and also the preschool program, Farris said.
Any new cuts would follow on the heels of previous federal and state cuts the district has absorbed over the last several years.
The district experienced federal Title II funding cuts during the 2011-2012 school year of $60,000, and is losing approximately $50,000 in funding for its Headstart program in the 2012-2013 school year.
Over the last several years, the school system also has experienced state funding cuts to the SEEK program, extended school services, professional development and the elimination of its textbook funding.
According to the KDE press release, the federal spending reduction is occurring because the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction did not produce a bill identifying federal budgetary savings of at least $1.2 trillion over 10 years. That triggered an automatic spending reduction process that includes sequestration to take effect on Jan 2, 2013, as stipulated in the Budget Control Act of 2011.
Farris said the commissioner and superintendents have voiced their concern’s to Kentucky’s congressional degelation.
“We have written Congress and communicated our concern regarding these cuts,” Farris said. “If these cuts are avoided, we could continue to provide these instructional services to the students of Clark County Public Schools.”
Contact Bob Flynn at email@example.com.