Sequestration's Effect on Local Public Schools - NBC4 Washington

Sequestration's Effect on Local Public Schools



    Sequestration Impact on Local Schools

    News4's Mark Segraves finds out how area school districts are preparing for sequestration, and gets reaction from parents. (Published Friday, March 1, 2013)

    Public schools in the D.C. area face cuts because of their dependence on federal grants.

    Special education, child care and adult education are among the programs that depend on federal grants.

    In the District, public schools get more than $11 million per year from the feds.

    "It's terrible because my kids depend on that,” a parent told News4. “They give them lunch, and if I leave them for the evening, they give them food. This is really going to be a damper. They should try to cut somewhere else."

    "I'm not happy about it,” another parent Lauren Buckner, told News4. “My son receives special education services. So I would be very disappointed if we lose any funding for those services. I hope the government can get it together and work out a deal."

    D.C. Public Schools is not alone. Most schools in the region rely on some federal funds.

    In Montgomery County, it's only about 3 percent of the schools budget, but in Prince William County the superintendent of schools says the cuts could be devastating.

    “The sequester will deal a particular blow to funding that serves children with some of the greatest needs, those in poverty and in our special needs education students,” he said.

    D.C. Council member David Catania, who oversees DCPS, said the city is in a unique position.

    "Our revenue even anticipating sequestration is $180 million more than we thought, and so it is our job that while the federal government figures this out we minimize the impact to residents," he said.

    Still, parents are worried.

    "It's a little bit of a disgrace being in America and having our kids suffer because they can't make a decision up on the Hill for the students and the country," parent Josie Militelo said.