Seneca Valley School District could be feeling the pinch from the federal sequestration budget cuts signed by President Barack Obama March 1.
At Monday’s meeting, Superintendent Dr. Tracy Vitale told school board members that the district currently receives about $1.65 million in federal money, which is used for special education and Title 1 reading programs.
Vitale explained Title 1 affects students who qualify in poverty levels for free and reduced school lunches.
“We receive money to give them extra support to make sure they’re reading by third grade,” Vitale said. “That is our goal”
Vitale said budget cuts could slash the amount of federal funding the district receives by 5.4 to 5.8 percent, which translates to a loss of $89,000 to $95,700 out of Seneca Valley's budget of roughly $100 million.
In January, Seneca Valley released a proposed preliminary budget showing expenditures at about $102 million and revenue at $99 million in the 2013-14 school year, a shortfall of about $2.8 million, if the district updates its current plan and rolls it into the coming school year only.
What school officials chose to do about that information is up to them, Vitale said.
“In a $100 million budget, or close to a $100 million budget, people say it’s not that much money,” Vitale said of the federal cuts effect on Seneca Valley. “While it may not be. I would suggest to you that those programs would then either need to be cut, or that money would be passed on to the local taxpayers if you chose to keep those programs in place.”
Vitale said the federal money makes up only a portion of the special education and Title 1 reading programs. The programs in the special education budget, which are not totally funded by the state or federal government, are mandated, she added.
“The entire program would not be cut, but you could see some impact to that program depending on, well, it would be up to the board,” she said.
The cuts would not take effect until the 2013-14 school year because key formula funding programs, including Title 1 grants for districts and special education, are “forward funded," meaning many districts already have the money in hand through June.
Sequestration is a series of across-the-board cuts to federal programs, including the U.S Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Education. To learn more about how sequestration could affect local communities and workers, click here.
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