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Sequestration Should Have Minimal Impact on Local School Budgets

Federal cuts could impact more than 150 teachers and $12 million in funding to New Jersey schools, though Governor Christie has promised state aid levels won't drop.

Though gridlock in Washington has threatened $12 million in funding to New Jersey schools, the potential local impact should be minimal, Glen Rock Business Administrator Michael Rinderknecht said.

In his annual budget address, Governor Christie Tuesday announced state aid funding for all school districts will remain at least flat. In some districts, it will increase.

The news is something Rinderknecht expected. The district is likely to be the only one in the state to present a budget without a tax levy increase to the general fund for a second consecutive year.

"The issue relating to the Congress and the federal budget should have no impact on Glen Rock's local school budget," he said.

Prior to the governor's speech, Ridgewood Business Administrator Angelo DeSimone said there could be a slight hit with the sequestration standoff.

"We do get some federal funds and what we've done is we have reduced our anticipation of what those federal funds would look like," he said.

Typically, he said, the school budgets 85 percent of what's anticipated but this year they're dropping that budeted expectation to 75 percent. It could amount to a $100,000 difference. Because Ridgewood's special education school population is increasing, it would likely get a large portion of federal IDEA grants, though DeSimone stopped short of saying it would be proportionate.

"We do have a growth in our special ed population," he said. "If there's enough funding, then we should see some growth, if everything remains equal, we should see some growth in our IDEA allocation because of our population growth."

The state allocates the funding it receives from the federal government, Superintendent Dan Fishbein added.

Districts will receive their 2013-2014 aid totals within 48 hours of the governor's address, just days before the federal sequestration deadline. 

Without action from Congress, the sequester would go into effect automatically on March 1, reducing spending by the state in a number of areas, including education, the environment, health, military and law enforcement, the White House said.

The cuts, according to the Obama administration, could jeopardize 160 teacher and aide jobs in New Jersey, as well as cut funding to 60 schools and 15,000 students.

New Jersey could lose nearly $12 million in funding for primary and secondary education if Congress fails to halt the “sequestration” by Friday, according to figures released by the White House.

Funding would be cut to the early childhood education program Head Start, vaccination programs for children and health services for seniors, among other things, and thousands of civilian Department of Defense employees could be furloughed, according to the White House.

The total federal spending cuts under the sequester add up to about $1.2 trillion over the next nine years.

Republicans have accused the president of using the impending cuts for political gain.

President Barack Obama's plan asks for increased tax revenues to offset some of the trillion-dollar cuts.

News Man February 28, 2013 at 05:29 PM
The Obama administration has made it quite clear in his recommendations as to what needs to be done. Suggest you cooperate and review the process more carefully.

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