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How sequestration would impact Seattle Public Schools
Under a current federal proposal, major cuts called “sequestration” are automatically scheduled for March 1.
The current plan slashes education services, including cutting Head Start by $406 million, cutting special education by $840 million and laying off up to 40,000 teachers and other school employees nationwide.
The White House on Sunday issued a state-by-state analysis on the proposed cuts.
For Education funding in Washington state:
• Title I funds would be eliminated for more than 2,700 schools, cutting support for nearly 1.2 million disadvantaged students.
o At SPS, we would incur a 14.7 percent reduction in Title 1 funds, or about $1.6 million, equating to about 20 teachers.
• Cuts to Special Education (IDEA) would eliminate federal support for more than 7,200 Washington state teachers, aides and other staff to preschool and school-aged students with disabilities.
o At SPS, we would face 8.8 percent reduction in Special Education, or about $1 million, equating to about 12 teachers.
• Head Start services would be eliminated for about 70,000 children, with an anticipated layoff of more than 14,000 teachers, assistants and other staff statewide.
o At SPS, this would be an 8.8 percent reduction in Head Start services, equating to about four teachers.
The bottom line: If sequestration occurs, Seattle Public Schools could face a loss of up to $3 million annually, and that would be on top of an estimated $18 million state budget shortfall we are already facing, for a total of $21 million in lost funds.
These $3 million in federal cuts will be devastating as we will not be able to address the specific needs of our most at-risk students.
We have an obligation to serve our special education students, so we would have to cover that shortfall with local resources. Overall, this will mean reduced services Districtwide.
If you have concerns or questions about how sequestration will affect public schools, you can contact your representatives in U.S. Congress.