Across Metro Atlanta school districts have been appealing to Congressional leadership to call on a compromise to be reached before Sequestration including automatic spending cuts for education goes into effect. Well, March 1 has arrived and no action has been taken yet to stop across-the-board federal cuts that can cause a very serious “long term” impact to Georgia. Georgia is estimating a federal funding loss of about $485 million that comes with the challenge of finding replacement, unbudgeted dollars from the state. Federal education programs face an estimated 5.1 percent budget cut this year if Congress continues on this track.
This week Gwinnett County citizens including educators called on Congress to find common ground on spending cuts and loopholes to avoid sequestration. The group Georgia Fair Share teamed up with other organizations to hand delivered a more than 500 signature petition to U.S. Representative Rob Woodall’s office in Lawrenceville on Wednesday. The group told WSB-TV it wants Congress to close corporate tax loopholes, end out dated subsidies for drug an oil companies and put funds back into the economy and job growth.
Donna Aker, President of the Gwinnett County Association of Educators, sarcastically told the crowd outside of Congressman Woodall’s office, that it’s apparently O.K. to loss a few thousand children due to budget cuts.
Aker said, “Of the 1.5 million students in Georgia we just won’t educate 54 thousand of them. That’s just 4 percent. We can afford to not educate 4 percent, right?”
The Clayton County School System is also urging Congress to stop harmful budget cuts. For the Clayton District, a budget cut of 5.1 percent in federal funding could mean larger class sizes, fewer course offerings, less access to intervention programs, summer school and after school programs, less extracurricular activities, and teacher/staff lay-offs. This week the Clayton County Public Schools’ Board of Education adopted a resolution urging Congress to stop these across-the-board cuts.
The resolution adopted during the Monday night school board meeting, urges Congress and the Administration to amend the Budget Control Act and American Taxpayer Relief Act to mitigate the drastic cuts to education that would affect our students and communities, and to protect education as an investment critical to economic stability and American competitiveness.
Interim Superintendent, Luvenia Jackson said, “Given the budget cuts and adjustments our local community has made in recent years, there is simply very little, if anything else left to cut. Any further cuts in education funding could adversely affect the quality of our education programs.”
Nationally, across the board sequestration cuts are estimated at about 85 billion dollars.
Speaking with media, U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson said, “After the reality kicks in he thinks Congress will come back and make some targeted cuts to address the problem.”
The White House and Congressional leaders are expected to Friday to discuss solutions.