Federal Sequester Cuts Into Local Schools’ Budgets, N-Y Hit The Hardest

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The automatic federal spending cuts from the financial sequester are expected to hit schools statewide at the start of the school year. While the impact won’t be as bad as expected, local school officials won’t know what this means until more data is released.

On Monday, Ohio Department of Education officials said the state expects $66 million in federal spending cuts from the sequester. But State Supt. Richard Ross said the cuts will be partially offset with the reallocation of $19 million in unused federal dollars. The announcement came one day after Gov. John Kasich signed into law the two-year, $62 billion state budget.

The cuts for the state will impact 14 grant programs for the 2013-14 school year, Ross said on a conference call with reporters. The impact on individual schools will depend in the district’s student population and poverty data.

Most education programs will be reduced by about 5.2 percent, Ross added.

The department will be allocating $19 million back to Ohio schools to help “lessen the blow,” said Jeremy Marks, the department’s federal legislative liaison.

The reallocated funds will go toward the two hardest hit programs — Title I and IDEA. Title I is designated for school districts in high poverty areas. IDEA, which stands for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, funds special education programs and related services.

Of the allocated funds, $8 million will support Title I; $11 million will support IDEA programs.

The department doesn't know yet how much individual school districts will get back, Marks said. Those are expected later in the summer.

The agency has provided information on how the cuts will impact schools before the reallocation. The federal cuts impact every school district in the county, including the Athens-Meigs Educational Service Center and the Athens County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

Nelsonville-York City Schools could see the largest cuts. That district is projected to lose about $92,198 in federal funding.

Estimates of the other cuts before the reallocation are as follows:

Athens City Schools: $84,478

Trimble Local Schools: $36,004

Federal Hocking Local Schools: $33,412

Alexander Local Schools: $21,847

The Athens-Meigs ESC may lose $1,612; the board of developmental disabilities may lose $674.