Eye on Education

“Fiscal Cliff” Means Serious, Though Not Immediate Cuts for Schools

Andrea Trasatti / flickr

As the “fiscal cliff” deadline nears without resolution, anyone and anything that relies on federal funding is getting increasingly nervous.

But schools can breathe a little easier than most other recipients of federal aid.

That’s because most districts’ write their budgets for an academic year, so the bulk of the cuts won’t be felt until the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year.

Still, if a deal isn’t reached and the automatic set of tax hikes and budget reductions take effect, schools would see a roughly 8 percent reduction in federal aid.

That doesn’t sit well with any school administrators, but folks at poorer urban and rural districts are even more worried. That’s because poorer schools tend to rely on federal funding more than their better-off neighbors.

“We do receive dollars based on our poverty level which is much higher than the surrounding districts,” says John Scanlan, Chief Financial Officer for Cleveland Schools. “So you do feel that hit more probably in your larger urban districts with high poverty levels.”

Scanlan says the programs that would be hardest hit include free and reduced lunch programs, special education programs, and those serving English language learners. But, he points out, those are also services that the district has to provide no matter what, meaning reductions on the district level would come from elsewhere.

[Read more about what the "fiscal cliff" would mean for Ohio's schools.]

While K-12 schools largely get a delay in “cliff” consequences, the impact would be immediate for many higher education institutions that rely heavily on research funding, and federal financial aid would likely see reductions too.



  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patsy-Nomore/100003129642483 Patsy Nomore

    How could Federal cuts be any more damaging than the cuts the T-Party/Republicans have been doing here all along. Skimming revenue due to schools and redirecting those dollars to the wealthiest and their corporations,have devastated most Ohioans already.But,that`s what you get from a NeoNutzi political party that believes all public education is unconstitutional. Whether damaging the Federal government or local schools,no treasonous act are recognized for what they are ,by these NeoNutzi true believers.

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