If Congress and the White House fail to agree on taxes and spending by the end of this year, a set of automatic cuts imposed by prior federal law will come into force, and Texas public schools will not be spared. Most of the impact of this so-called “sequestration” would not be felt until the 2013-2014 school year, leaving additional time for President Obama and lawmakers to avert most of the potential harm. But school districts already are starting to make contingency plans for coping with the loss of federal revenue if a deal cannot be worked out.
According to a Texas Education Agency notice to school districts earlier this year, the federal cuts in funds previously approved would exceed $4 billion nationally. Federal estimates indicate Texas public schools would stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars, with Title I aid for the economically disadvantaged and IDEA funding for students with disabilities taking the biggest hit.
The American Federation of Teachers notes some of the potential nationwide consequences of sequestration in the education and health-care sectors as follows:
–100,000 children could no longer participate in Head Start, and 20,000 Head Start employees could be forced to leave their jobs.
–500,000 students with special needs could be harmed by this cut, and 12,000 special education teachers and aides could lose their jobs.
–Title I Grants to 4,000 schools could end, affecting nearly 2 million students. More than 16,000 teachers and aides could lose their jobs.
–80,000 children from low-income working families could lose their child care.
–Up to one million patients could lose services provided by community health centers.
–An estimated 496,000 health-care and related jobs could be lost within the first year, and as many as 766,000 jobs could be lost by 2021.
AFT is urging Congress to avert these outcomes and develop instead a balanced approach that includes revenue increases, protects Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare, and does not hinder economic growth. You can help by calling your two U.S. senators, Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn. Use this link to AFT's “Connect Me!” Web site to initiate your phone call. http://afl.salsalabs.com/dia/t…