By Linda Kor
A roughly $1.2 trillion across-the-board cut to federal spending set to go into effect on Jan. 2, 2013, has Congress’ deficit reduction “super committee” under pressure to come up with a balanced deficit reduction plan before sequestration can go into effect.
Sequestration, also know as the Budget Control Act of 2011, has been put in place to implement automatic cuts should the objectives of a balanced plan not be met, and would have a major impact on most states, in-cluding Arizona, where the loss of defense contracts, grants and other federal funding could also mean the loss of as many as 49,000 jobs. Also included in that equation will be major cuts to education for school districts such as Holbrook’s, which relies heavily on Title I and Impact Aid federal funding to make up for losses from the state.
According to Deputy Secretary of Education Anthony W. Miller, while the impact of sequestration on Title I, Title II, special education, and career, technical and adult education funds would not go into effect until the 2013-14 school year, the cuts to Impact Aid would be more immediate due to the formulas for distributing funds.
“Impact Aid provides funds to some 1,192 school districts serving about 949,000 students. About 52,000 of those students are in districts that rely heavily on Impact Aid for a large share of their funds. Those districts could experience more significant short-term funding problems due to sequestration than other districts,” ex-plained Miller.
Miller noted that with the implementation of sequestration, the damage from across-the-board cuts in the 2013-14 school year would be severe. “Sequestration was not meant to be implemented; it was meant to drive Congress to enact a balanced deficit plan through the threat of destructive cuts,” he said.
According to the figures, the broad, blunt cuts of sequestration would reduce funding to the U.S. Depart-ment of Education and Head Start by an estimated $4.5 billion to $4.8 billion. That means education funding would roll back to pre-2003 levels, impacting between 8.9 million and 9.4 million students across the nation. Not only are schools and colleges enrolling more students than in 2003, the cost to educate students has in-creased.
Not all programs would experience the effects of sequestration. Programs that would not be affected by funding cuts include Department of Veterans Affairs benefits; Academic Competitiveness Grants (ACG), Na-tional Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) grants; Child Care Entitlement grants; all child nutrition programs, except special milk programs; Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); Com-modity Supplemental Food Program; some Pell grants, for the first year of cuts only; Medicaid; Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); Supplemental Security Income Program (SSI); and Temporary Assis-tance for Needy Families (TANF).
By Linda Kor