The Budget Control Act of 2011 will impose across-the-board cuts of about 8.2 percent to education and other domestic programs in Fiscal Year 2013 unless Congress intervenes by Jan. 2.
Sequestration would apply to defense budgets but also to federal activities from education to job training to medical research, child care, worker safety, food safety, national parks, border security and safe air travel among other programs.
“These essential government services directly touch every family in America, and they will be subject to deep, arbitrary cuts under sequestration,” said Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education and Related Agencies in his July 25 report, “Under Threat.”
“Most school districts would not see any impact until the 2013-14 school year, but those consequences will be severe,” Harkin said.
Furthermore, he added these cuts will continue during a 10-year period and will have a devastating effect on schools, eroding the base of funding for key programs year after year.
The end result for many of the nation’s public schools would be larger class sizes, fewer course offerings, four-day school weeks, fewer extracurricular activities, less access to intervention programs and teacher/staff layoffs, said Deborah Rigsby, the National School Board Association’s director of federal legislation.
What sequestration means to the district
Sequestration is a plan to cut about $1.2 trillion from the federal budget in an even split, about 8.3 percent, across the board. Under sequestration, an additional $500 billion will be cut from defense spending with a loss of 740 jobs nationwide, due to the first $450 billion in cuts.
Nationwide, sequestration would cut education funding by more than $4 billion. States and local communities would lose $2.7 billion in federal funding for just three critical education programs alone, Harkin said. “Title I, special education state grants and Head Start — that serves a combined 30.7 million children. Nationwide, these cuts would force 46,349 employees to either lose their jobs or rely on cash-strapped states and localities to pick up their salaries instead.
“This is just some of the damage that would be done with the sort of indiscriminate, across-the-board cuts that Congress will go through with if it doesn’t act to stop sequestration,” Harkin said.