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Franklin - Schools look ahead to the affect of sequestration

David Snowden

Local school districts will be feeling another pinch in their 2013-14 budgets when federal money is cut by 8.2 percent – a result of Congressional gridlock during the 2011 federal budget negotiations.

In an effort to put pressure on Williamson County’s congressional delegation, members of the Franklin Special School District Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution urging Congress to amend the Budget Control Act of 2011 “to mitigate the drastic cuts to education that would affect our students and communities…”

The Budget Control Act of 2011 was the result of Congress failing to come to terms on budget cuts to avoid a debt ceiling crisis in 2011. The Act put the responsibility of coming up with $1.5 trillion in budget cuts over 10 years in the hands of 12 people – six from the House and six from the Senate. A “trigger mechanism” called sequestration (automatic federal budget cuts) was added as a deterrent against gridlock.

Gridlock incurred, sequestration is in effect and $1.2 trillion in across-the-board cuts are soon to be imposed on defense and non-defense programs including a $2.7 billion cut in funding for schools.

The loss of about $64.4 million in revenue to Tennessee will significantly reduce state funding to FSSD and impact Title I grants, IDEA special education state grants and Head Start, the resolution states.

“[Congress] will make the cuts, but they will not be until next year,” said Dr. David Snowden FSSD superintendent. “ [Then] It will impact employment.”

The resolution focuses a lot on the value of education, said board member Tim Stillings.

“I think the real message to Congressional leaders is to quit partisan bickering and move forward,” he added.

“It’s disconcerting to see more and more mandates from the federal government about what we need to do in education and then they send less money for education,” said board member Melanie Hembree. “It’s very frustrating.”

School officials said FSSD’s $126,000 reduction in federal revenue on top of last year’s reduction in federal funds would result in a significant reduction in staff causing larger class sizes, fewer course offerings, possible four-day school weeks and the loss of extracurricular activities.

Posted on: 11/14/2012


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