Huge education cuts if sequestration deal isn’t reached

Federal K-through-12 education programs could take a huge hit if Congress doesn’t act to avoid sequestration, a series of automatic funding cuts, by the March 1 deadline.

For Pennsylvania, it would mean $26 million slashed from federal education programs.

“It makes me want to possibly change one of my children from the school district of Lancaster to a private school,” said Ramona Vargas, who has two children in a Lancaster city elementary school. “Just because there are some opportunities for him to attend.”

Programs like ESL, parental involvement, special education and preschool would see deep cuts, and some 360 teachers jobs would also be in jeopardy.

“We’ll have fewer teachers, we’ll have larger class sizes, there will be less types of programs available,” said Mike Crossey, Pennsylvania State Education Association President. “I would imagine some school districts may decide to cut sports programs and after school opportunities for students.”

Crossey said low-income schools that receive Title 1 grants to help level the playing field, would see that money drastically cut.

“Many of these cuts that will happen are targeted towards the lowest income communities that are least able to afford to make up the difference,” he said.

Vargas said all of this political wrangling at our children’s expense should push everyone to be more proactive when it comes to our government.

“That’s where we have to get more involved in politics, at the local level, at the state level, at the federal level,” she said. “And know who we’re putting to represent us. It seems like the people we have in office now, don’t care about the people down here.”

Head Start programs would also see dramatic cuts if nothing is done.

In Pennsylvania, 2300 fewer children would be able to enroll in Head Start and Early Head Start programs.