Schools in area could be harmed
Posted: December 13, 2012
The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER — State and local school divisions could be hit hard in January if the nation goes over the “fiscal cliff.”
Barring a compromise by Republicans and Democrats in Washington on ways to deal with the budget deficit, the nation could face automatic budget cuts totaling about $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years and tax increases set to begin Jan. 1.
According to the National Education Association (NEA), Virginia public schools could experience a loss of $75 million in federal funding, as well as a loss of 1,300 jobs.
About $18 million of these cuts would affect 17,500 low-income students; about $23 million in cuts would affect nearly 12,000 students with special needs; and $9.5 million in cuts would deny about 1,200 children access to the Head Start program, according to the NEA.
Local school divisions would see their share of cuts, but officials say it’s too early to identify the programs that would be affected beginning in fiscal year 2014.
Officials of the Frederick County school system, which has an operating budget of $128 million in FY 2013, project a loss of $350,000 to $400,000.
“We are in the early stages of developing the budget for FY14 and have not identified possible cuts,” wrote Steve Edwards, the division’s coordinator of policy, records management and communications, in an e-mail Tuesday. “There remain many unknowns this early in the budget process.”
School leaders in Clarke County, which has an FY 2013 operating budget of about $26 million, are projecting cuts of about $60,000.
“[W]e will have to talk about if we value federal program A more than X or Y or Z,” said Schools Superintendent Mike Murphy. “If we do, we cut X or Y or Z. If not, we live with the pain of a political and funding process that makes no sense.”
Officials of the Winchester Public Schools predict about $135,000 in cuts. The division’s FY 2013 operating budget is about $47 million.
The Virginia Education Association represents 56,000 teachers and school-support professionals and advocates for public schools.
— Contact Rebecca Layne at firstname.lastname@example.org