For Falls Church and other impacted school districts, the cuts are estimated at 8.2 percent of current federal funding. The board’s adopted resolution says the cuts could mean larger class sizes, fewer course offerings, shorter school weeks, loss of extracurricular activities, reduced special education and limited English proficiency services, and teacher and staff lay-offs.
Nationwide, sequestration would cut education funding by more than $4 billion, and would affect the Falls Church City schools’ budget by more than $50,000 at a time when states and local governments have very limited capacity to absorb further federal budget cuts to education.
“Given the enrollment increases we’ve seen -- more than 12 percent – and the absolute and per student budget cuts we’ve made since 2008, there is simply no line in our budget left to cut,” said School Board Chair Susan Kearney. “Even though federal funds are just a small percentage of our budget, any further cuts in education funding could adversely affect the quality of our education programs. And such cuts could have a devastating impact on schools elsewhere in Virginia and around the country that rely more heavily on federal funds.”
The board’s resolution urges Congress and the Administration to amend the Budget Control Act and take other actions necessary to avoid the drastic cuts to education that “sequestration” otherwise would impose. Such action would protect public education as an investment critical to economic stability, American competitiveness, and future global economic progress, the resolution maintains.
Currently, bipartisan negotiations are underway in Congress to develop an alternative to sequestration. The Falls Church school board’s resolution is being forwarded to members of Congress and the White House to urge their support to avert the sequester, and it is anticipated that thousands of school districts across the nation will take similar actions in the weeks leading up to the post-election session of Congress.