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Examiner
  • Independence school board opposes sequestration

  • The Independence Board of Education is joining with school districts from throughout the United States to urge Congress to fix financial issues in the next few weeks before the country goes over what is being referred to as the “fiscal cliff.”

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  • The Independence Board of Education is joining with school districts from throughout the United States to urge Congress to fix financial issues in the next few weeks before the country goes over what is being referred to as the “fiscal cliff.”
    The result would cost school districts millions in federal funding.
    “When we talk about money, it equates to the services and programs we can provide for our students,” said Superintendent Jim Hinson at Tuesday’s Independence Board of Education meeting. “This is a massive amount of money, but what it is really about is how we take care of the kids.”
    The Independence Board of Education approved a resolution opposing sequestration. Sequestration, which was first mentioned in the Budget Control Act of 2011, is a procedure that implements automatic cuts to all federal funds and programs, including education.
    The “cliff” would be created through the end of certain tax breaks for businesses and temporary payroll tax cuts for workers. New taxes would be implemented as the result of President Barack Obama’s health care law, and spending cuts that were agreed to as part of the 2011 debt ceiling deal would also go into affect.
    If the Congress does not develop a budgetary plan by Dec. 31, these automatic cuts will be applied sometime in 2013. The funding proposal from Congress must include at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions over the next decade. Up until now, no agreement has been reached between the Democrat or Republican parties.
    “We are dealing with a lot of unknowns,” said Dale Herl, deputy superintendent for the district. “We receive approximately $25 million in federal funds. However, we believe only $15 million will be considered entitlement funds, which will be affected. These are the funds we receive to help our neediest kids.”
    The reductions implemented if no deal can be reached are expected to be around 8.2 percent each year over the next 10 years and impact federal or entitlement programs such as Title I; career, technical and adult education; Head Start and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which funds special education. The impact to Independence is estimated to be around a $1.2 million loss in funding each year.
    It is unclear when these cuts would be made. Hinson said he is fearful that some cuts would be immediate, while others might not be made until the 2013-14 fiscal year begins in July.
    “This is a very real situation all school districts are facing right now,” he said. “If something does not occur by the end of the year, it would mean massive cuts to these programs.”
     
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