Jul 26, 2014

Sequestration Would Have Little Short-Term Impact on Newark Schools

Districts across New Jersey await state aid figures this week with uncertainty.

Sequestration Would Have Little Short-Term Impact on Newark Schools

With $85 billion in federal "sequestration" spending cuts planned to take effect tomorrow, the Newark Public School District says there should be little effect on the district's $1 billion budget -- at least at first.

"Federal programs such as Title 1, IDEA and ESEA are of great assistance to Newark Public Schools. The combined total of these federal dollars account for approximately 3 percent of the Newark Public Schools budget," Renee Harper, a district spokseperson, said. "While there will not be any disruption in services to our students and families in the near term, the district will be faced with making certain trade-offs as we plan for the 2013-14 budget if sequestration takes effect for an extended period of time."

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. 

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.

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.

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