In a devastating move against public education, Congress has decided to proceed with a federal budgetary process called “sequestration”. As you’ve most likely heard in the news, this means a 5% across-the-board cut to domestic spending, which includes federal funding for education.
The process was to go into effect on Friday of last week and National PTA has shared with us that “ unfortunately, the outlook for education funding in the coming weeks is looking less than rosy”. Upon implementation, sequestration will result in approximately $2.4 billion in cuts to education programs – leaving students, schools, and families short changed starting in the 2013-2014 school year.
For New York state, this means a loss of $42.7 million for primary and secondary education and approximately $36.3 million in funds for students with disabilities, totaling an overall loss of $79 million in funding support; a likely loss of more than 1000 teacher/teacher aide and staff positions; with 70,000 fewer students being and 120 fewer schools receiving funding. We ask: Where or how will the difference be made up? How will we meet the challenges of federally mandated programs and expectations that we ensure that our students are college and career ready?
With this in mind, note that Congress has an opportunity to replace sequestration or mitigate the impact of deep cuts to education before the end of March through action on the FY13 Continuing Resolution, to fund programs and services through the remainder of this fiscal year.
As your state PTA representatives prepare to attend next week's national Legislative Conference in Washington and visit congressional representatives on Capitol Hill, we would like to hear from our local PTA units any anecdotal examples of the impact sequestration will have to education programs in their schools or districts. For example:
Do you know of specific budget cuts (Impact Aid, Title I, Title III, IDEA, etc.) that will impact children and families in your school, district or region?
What, if any, plans are PTA units making to help make up for and work in collaboration with their schools to mitigate impending program losses?
As our grassroots members, you can provide critical local information for us to convey to our state officials in Washington. I invite you to comment with a couple sentences outlining your situation so we can collect examples of the true impact of this devastating process so for us to highlight during our advocacy efforts.
Thank you for your advocacy!
Lana Ajemian, President
Reflect the past, Transform today, Inspire tomorrow!