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Glenn County educators hoping to be spared
Glenn County educators aren't bracing for immediate cuts as a result of Friday's sequestration order.
Most are hoping some kind of deal can be reached before the government cuts tens of thousands in federal money from local programs that help improve education for students in public schools.
"All we can do is hope that education will be spared," said Janet Perez, director of categorical programs at Willows Unified School District.
After congressional leaders failed to reach a spending compromise, President Barrack Obama signed the order authorizing $85 billion in across-the-board cuts on Friday night.
The biggest cut for Glenn County schools would be in federal Title 1 funding, which helps fund programs that improve the education of disadvantaged students, those with disabilities and students who are English learners.
The funding, however, is applied to schoolwide programs and positions that benefit all students in the district, not just students who are socioeconomically disadvantaged, Perez said.
The mandatory 8.5 percent cut to Willows Unified's General Fund, as a result of sequestration would amount to about $44,000.
Perez said the district has some money rolled over in its categorical programs so that the impact would not be felt this year and next.
"If the cuts go through it will be felt the following year," she said. "It could mean the loss of a school counselor or teacher's aide positions."
State Superintendent of Schools Tom Torlakson is urging Congress to prevent the cuts to education.
"After years of extensive state and federal budget cuts to education, these cuts will devastate communities across California," Torlakson said in a statement. "These automatic cuts will cause long-lasting and irreparable harm."
For California schools, the cuts would mean a total of $262 million in reduced revenue, of which $72 million is spent on special education programs that serve the needs of students with disabilities.
Funding cuts, however, would not reduce the school district's obligation to provide services, which have been guaranteed to students with disabilities since the 1970s, said Willows Superintendent Mort Geivett.
"We are still hoping that people will come to the table and get this resolved," Geivett said Monday. "Even if we are forced to make cuts, we still have to give our students the education they need and deserve."
Sequestration would also result in $2.8 million in cuts to public charter schools across the state.
Glenn County has two public charter schools — William Finch, which has campuses in Willows and Orland, and Walden Academy in Willows.
Both charters are open to all students in Glenn County.
About $6.9 million in federal funding will be cut from career and technical education, which includes wood shop, mechanics and welding programs in Glenn County's five high schools.
Sequestration would also impact federal work study programs, Head Start, adult literacy programs, grants for infants and families, programs for homeless and foster children and migrant education, officials said.
It will also impact school improvement state grants.
Torlakson said the sequestration cuts come at time when California schools are still adjusting to $20 billion in state-level cuts over the past five years.
"The California Department of Education, school districts and local educational agencies will need to find ways to cut costs even further under sequestration," he said.
Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, said California has been slowly recovering from the recession that began in 2007, but said the sequestration cuts would hamper that recovery if Congress fails to pass a responsible deal that includes a balance of cuts and revenue.
"We can reduce the deficit and grow the economy by eliminating waste and fraud, by closing tax loopholes — ensuring that those who have special access and power pay their fair share — and by creating sufficient job opportunities," Garamendi said in a statement.
Garamendi said that every day sequestration continues, it "tears deeper into our economy and our communities."ï¿½