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Sequestration cuts threaten local, state education

STAFF WRITER

BARSTOW • Federal sequestration cuts that went into effect Friday will affect both Silver Valley and Barstow school districts, but one more so than the other.

“I don’t know how this is going to play out in a year or two,” Silver Valley Unified School District Superintendent Marc Jackson said, “but it’s not good.”

Jackson’s schools will be hit hard, with cuts of more than $1 million in the next 1 1⁄2 years, he estimated, with losses in three key funding areas: Title I, Title II and impact aid.

Loss of impact aid funds will hurt the most, somewhere in the neighborhood of $700,000 — money which could be used for security, staff development programs and reimbursement for children who live in Fort Irwin, according to Jackson.

The current San Bernardino County Superintendent of the Year was headed to Washington, D.C., for a meeting Monday of the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools to talk about the cuts.

Jackson would not discuss specifics, but called the cuts “pretty devastating.” He noted that the district had prepared in case they came to fruition.

Jeff Malan, superintendent of the Barstow Unified School District, spoke about a 5.9 percent reduction in Title I funding equating to roughly $90,000 or $100,000 for the 2013-14 school year.

After-school programs could be affected since they are funded through Title I. The reduced funding could also impact staffing, Malan said, and affect jobs such as parent educators.

He shared Jackson’s outlook on government negotiations.

“It’s extremely disappointing that it has dragged on in this fashion,” he said.

For California, as a whole, the outlook is bleak.

The state will lose approximately $87.6 million in funding for primary and secondary education, according to the White House website. In addition 1,210 teacher and aide jobs statewide will be lost.

About 187,000 fewer students will be served and approximately 320 fewer schools will receive funding. Head Start and Early Head Start services will be eliminated outright for nearly 8,200 children, according to the White House website.

Shea Johnson may be reached at (760) 256-4126 or at SJohnson@DesertDispatch.com.


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