If automatic spending cuts to federal education go into effect next month as planned, Oconee County Schools will see funding for federal school programs dwindle over the next decade.
Dr. Claire Miller, assistant superintendent for Teaching and Learning, told the Oconee County School Board about the potential impact at a work session on Monday.
"Simply put, sequestration is the cancellation of previously approved spending - an automatic form of spending cuts" according to Miller's report. "As modified by the fiscal cliff deal passed by Congress Jan. 1, sequestration will take effect March 1, 2013, but impose cuts over a period of nine years, 2013–2021."
According to estimates presented by Miller, a nine percent cut would leave the system with about $165,000 less than it has in fiscal year 2013 to operate federal school programs in fiscal year 2014 (see attached chart). Total reduction over the nine years would amount to around $1.67 million.
Miller noted Congress could still make changes between now and then but acknowledged that if that happens, it would likely mean there would cuts to other areas of the federal budget
"We have to be planning and looking ahead to have ideas of what we might do if [sequestration] does take place," Miller said. "So we'll wait until March 1 and then see how we need to move forward."
President Barack Obama on Tuesday during a briefing at the White House asked Congress to delay the cuts yet again in order for there to be more time to look at a long-term deficit reduction plan consisting of tax increases coupled with spending reductions, the AP reported.
"There is no reason that the jobs of thousands of Americans who work in national security or education or clean energy, not to mention the growth of the entire economy should be put in jeopardy just because folks in Washington couldn’t come together to eliminate a few special interest tax loopholes or government programs that we agree need some reform," he said.
That same day, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) issued the following statement:
"President Obama first proposed the sequester and insisted it become law. Republicans have twice voted to replace these arbitrary cuts with common-sense cuts and reforms that protect our national defense. We believe there is a better way to reduce the deficit, but Americans do not support sacrificing real spending cuts for more tax hikes. The president’s sequester should be replaced with spending cuts and reforms that will start us on the path to balancing the budget in 10 years."
*Here's a list of the federal school programs at Oconee County Schools
Title I-A - Improving The Academic Achievement Of The Disadvantaged "The purpose of this title is to ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach, at a minimum, proficiency on challenging State academic achievement standards and state academic assessments," according to www.ed.gov.
There are four Title I-A schools in Oconee County: Colham Ferry Elementary, Oconee County Primary, Oconee County Elementary, and Oconee County Middle School.
Title II-A - Preparing, Training, and Recruiting High Quality Teachers and Principals Ed.gov states, "The purpose of this part is to provide grants to State educational agencies, local educational agencies, State agencies for higher education, and eligible partnerships..."
Dr. Claire Miller said recently Oconee County Schools have used this program for training for common core work.
Title I-C - Migrant Education "Funds support high quality education programs for migratory children and help ensure that migratory children who move among the states are not penalized in any manner by disparities among states in curriculum, graduation requirements, or state academic content and student academic achievement standards," according to www.ed.gov.
Title III - Language Instruction for Limited English Proficient and Immigrant Students
VI-B IDEA - Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
Perkins Program Improvement- Grant for Career, Technical and Agricultural Education