Education advocates have been fearful of the impact of failed negotiations in the U.S. Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, leading to federal budget cuts.
The bipartisan, 12-member “Super Committee” was created by the Congressional Budget Control Act of 2011 to allow the government to raise the federal debt ceiling.
A priority was identifying a combinination of spending cuts, revenue increases and mandatory program reform to realize $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion savings over the next decade. Failing to identify budgetary savings would result in automatic across the board spending reductions, also known as sequestration.
The depth of cuts is estimated to be between 7.8 percent and 9.1 percent, which would reduce funding for the U.S. Department of Education by up to $4.1 billion.
ACSA Legislative Advocate Adonai Mack said ACSA is working to mitigate the impact of sequestration.
“We have signed on to a letter and petition with other state and national education organizations to oppose federal sequestration education budget cuts,” Mack said. “ACSA also participated in a survey of superintendents to provide information to our national affiliate AASA on the impact of federal budget trigger cuts on California schools.”
Operating under the assumption all federal reductions would take effect in January, many were fearful California could be facing not only possible state triggered cuts, depending on the outcome of the November ballot measure, but now would also face the reduction of federal funding.
However, Deputy Secretary for the U.S. DOE Anthony Miller sent a letter to all chief state school offices noting that funding impacted by sequestration are those apportionments available for the 2013-14 fiscal year and not 2012-13. The exception is Impact Aid, which will have its apportionment reduced during the 2012-13 fiscal year.
Miller also noted that the main funding accounts impacted by the sequestration include four with advance apportionments: Title 1, education for the disadvantaged; Title 2 school improvement programs; IDEA Part B special education; and Career, Technical and Adult Education.
U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health/Human Services and Education, and related agencies, released the report “Under Threat, Sequestration’s Impact on Nondefense Jobs and Services,” which estimates the possible reductions each state will face.
While the reductions include multiple budget items, California could see several cuts to education programs. A sample of the programs includes: Child Care and Development Block Grant $19 million; Title 1 Grants $139 million; School Improvement Grants $4.8 million; Special Education $99 million; Career and Technical Education $15 million.
ACSA will continue to monitor potential outcomes of sequestration.