'Fiscal Limbo' is not a game schools want to play
01/10/2013With the threat of sequestration pushed back until March 1, many in the education industry are breathing a sigh of relief, but angst continues over whether a compromise can be reached. If the cuts are allowed to happen, the effect on education budgets would be devastating. According to a report by the American Association of School Administrators, sequester translates into a $4 billion cut to the Department of Education's budget. A report by Sen. Tom Harkin, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education, paints an equally disturbing picture of how the sequester cuts would affect education programs.
Adding insult to injury, most state and local governments will be unable to offset any reduction of Department of Education funding. This all leads to more teachers with pink slips, fewer teachers in the classroom, larger class sizes and fewer academic program choices.
School districts across the country continue to face fiscal uncertainty as they try to plan for next school year's budget. Many school districts pushed back or delayed budget decisions until after the original December 31 deadline in the hopes that leaders in Washington, DC would reach a deal to prevent the automatic cuts. State and local education policymakers are in the unenviable position of having to develop contingency plans in the event that Congress and the Obama administration are unable to reach a deal and these devastating cuts come to fruition.
For those planning for the worst, uncertainty may be almost as painful as the cuts themselves.