The National School Boards Association has sent out an urgent bulletin to school boards across the nation warning about pending budget cuts by Congress.
If these cuts are not rescinded, every public school will see a new round of budget cuts, with fewer teachers and loss of vital services to children.
Please read this and do what you can to help.
NSBA Call to Action: Urge Congress to Rescind Across-the-Board Cuts to Education (Sequestration)
Federal funding for education faces significant across-the-board cuts of an estimated $4.1 billion on January 2, 2013 unless Congress takes action.
Urge Congress to rescind the across-the-board cuts (sequestration) to education that are scheduled to become effective on January 2, 2013.
The Budget Control Act of 2011 will impose across-the-board cuts of 7.8 percent or more to education and other domestic programs through a process called sequestration (the cancellation of budgetary resources), unless Congress intervenes.
Please utilize NSBA’s talking points and background information, take the survey, customize and adopt the sample board resolution, edit and send a letter to your local newspaper editor, and write to your senators and representative regarding sequestration. Your grassroots advocacy is essential to help mitigate these across-the-board cuts to education.
- The impact of a 7.8 percent cut to programs such as Title I grants for disadvantaged students would mean a cut of more than $1 billion, affecting nearly two million students.
- Special education grants would be reduced by more than $900 million, impacting nearly 500,000 children with disabilities.
- English Language Acquisition grants would be cut by approximately $60 million, affecting an estimated 377,000 students.
- Sequestration’s budget cuts to these and other education programs would mean increased class sizes and less access to programs for children with special needs, as well as summer school, college counselors, early childhood education and after-school programming.
Most school districts have experienced significant budget cuts already in recent years, resulting in fewer course offerings, thousands of teacher and staff layoffs, four-day school weeks, loss of extracurricular activities, and reduced transportation services, for example. If further budget cuts from sequestration were to occur, several school districts would be forced to cut even more essential services over the long term. As Dr. Billy Walker, Superintendent of the Randolph Field Independent School District in Texas, stated “If sequestration is truly a 10-year project, the devastating budget cuts may force us to close our doors.”
Here’s one school board member’s perspective regarding sequestration in a letter she wrote to her representative:
“I understand that as a result of the Budget Control Act, across the board cuts for all programs will be considered. I write today to give you an idea of what that would mean for our school and to urge you to reject across the board cuts in education…What I want you and the subcommittee to know is that even though they are not large amounts, these federal funds are what enable us to hire a second math teacher and third English teacher in our school. In our annual budget process, of our $1,875,000 general fund, every single dollar is accounted for down to about $30,000 — the $30,000 is the only flexibility we have for unexpected expenses. If our Title or IDEA funds are reduced even just a little, we would be looking at reducing a full teaching position because we have nowhere else left to cut. With less than two math teachers, for instance, we have no chance of supporting enough math classes so that our kids can stay in math classes at least three years throughout high school even though we know that is critical. With one less English teacher, we would have no real option to have meaningful writing courses in our school even though we know writing skills are also critical to their success beyond high school.”
-Sabrina Steketee, Chair, Jefferson High School Board of Trustees, Boulder, MT
Let Congress hear from you as well. Utilize these talking points and background information. Please take a moment to customize this sample letter and send it to your senators and representative. Also consider customizing and adopting the sample board resolution, take the survey, and edit and send a letter to your local newspaper editor.
Also, please don’t forget to send NSBA a copy of your adopted resolutions on sequestration along with any published letters-to-the-editor that will help illustrate why Congress should reject sequestration and preserve funding for our schools.
Information can be emailed to email@example.com.
NSBA greatly appreciates your advocacy efforts!
Kathleen Branch, MEd, CAE
Director, National Advocacy Services
Office of Federal Advocacy & Public Policy
National School Boards Association