Drastic cuts to federal spending resulting from the inability of the U.S. Congress to compromise on a budget, known as “Sequestration,” take effect today. Programs in the U.S. Department of Education could be cut by about $4.1 billion for the 2013-14 school year.
These cuts are significant and will have a real impact on education in Washington state. They hurt the kids and families who are struggling the most. I’m deeply troubled by the U.S. government’s inability to take the necessary steps to prevent this debacle. I urge Congress and the president to work quickly to agree on a budget so the full effects of the Sequester can be avoided.
Some of the areas affected include Impact Aid and Head Start, which will feel the cuts right away, as well as Title I and special education, which will feel the cuts in the next school year.
Impact Aid: Local property taxes are the primary source of funding for Washington state school districts. When large amounts of nontaxable federal lands exist in a district (like Indian reservations and military bases), schools in those areas have no way to generate enough funds to operate. Created in 1950 as a way to offset this problem, federal Impact Aid replaces those lost tax dollars. It is estimated that Impact Aid will lose just over $2 million for Fiscal Year 2013.
Head Start: Cuts to Head Start programs, which provide comprehensive education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low-income children and their families, will also be effective immediately, are estimated to total about $9 million this fiscal year in Washington state.
Title I: Washington state’s Title I funding, intended to improve the academic achievement of students in families with low income, is estimated to be reduced by almost $13 million for School Year 2013–14.
Special Education: Special education programs, as part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to help students with special needs, will lose an estimated $11 million next school year.