School board urges Congress to stop harmful budget cuts

Posted on Monday, November 5, 2012 at 11:33 am

Federal education programs face more than an eight-percent budget cut next year unless Congress intervenes, and the Fayetteville City school board has adopted a resolution urging Congress to stop these across-the-board cuts that would have a detrimental impact upon the school district.

The across-the-board cuts to federal education programs that benefit the Fayetteville City Schools would occur under a process called sequestration – defined as the cancellation of budgetary resources – that was enacted under the Budget Control Act of 2011.  

Nationwide, sequestration would cut education funding by more than $4 billion at a time when states and local governments have very limited capacity to absorb further budget cuts.

The resolution adopted urges Congress and the Administration to amend the Budget Control Act to mitigate the drastic cuts to education that would affect students and communities and to protect education as an investment critical to economic stability and American competitiveness. 

“A world class public education is essential for the future success of our nation and today’s schoolchildren,” reads the resolution unanimously passed by the school board last week. “The Budget Control Act of 2011 includes a provision to impose $1.2 trillion in across-the-board budget cuts to almost all federal programs including education that would become effective January 2, 2013.”

According to the resolution, these across-the-board budget cuts would impact school districts during the 2013-14 school year, with the exception of the Impact Aid program, with which a reduction would become effective this school year.

“These across-the-board budget cuts, also known as sequestration, would impact education by a reduction in funds of 8.2 percent or more and could result in larger class sizes, fewer course offerings, possible four-day school weeks, loss of extracurricular activities and teacher and staff lay-offs,” continues the resolution.

“Sequestration would impact almost every public school system in the nation and the millions of students educated through programs such as Title I grants for disadvantaged students, the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), English Language Acquisition, Career and Technical Education, 21st Century Community Learning Centers and more.”

Fayetteville City Schools, as well as other public schools, would be impacted nationwide by an estimated $2.7 billion loss from just three programs alone – Title I grants, IDEA special education state grants and Head Start – that serve a combined 30.7 million children, according to the resolution.

“Federal funding for K-12 programs was already reduced by more than $835 million in Fiscal Year 2011, and state and local funding for education continues to be impacted by budget cuts and lower local property tax revenues,” the resolution continues. “States and local governments have very limited capacity to absorb further budget cuts from sequestration.

“Fayetteville City Schools urges Congress and the Administration to amend the Budget Control Act to mitigate the drastic cuts to education that would affect our students and communities and to protect education as an investment critical to economic stability and American competitiveness,” the resolution reads.            

Currently, bipartisan negotiations are underway in Congress to develop an alternative to sequestration.  The Fayetteville City school board’s resolution indicates the community’s awareness of this critical issue and is being forwarded to members of Congress to urge their support to avert the sequester.

Headlines of the Day