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Preparing for federal cuts, still hoping for state funding restoration

Dr. Sylvester Perez1

March 4, 2013

Dear SAISD Staff,

Federal budget cuts under “sequestration” were being reported all over the news last week, so many of you might be wondering how those cuts will impact our school district. First, no cuts will take place this school year (2012-13); they will occur next school year. And second, we don’t know, exactly, what the cuts will look like for SAISD, in terms of what amount and what all would be impacted.

Like other Texas school districts, we are preparing as best we can for the expected funding reductions. We know the sequester would not impact every program for which SAISD receives federal funding. However, the vast majority of the education-related cuts would be to Title I and IDEA – crucial programs that serve economically disadvantaged students and students with disabilities. Looking at those two programs, and others we think would be impacted by cuts, we estimate a reduction in funding of between 5 percent and 8 percent, which would translate to a funding cut of between $2.5 million and $4 million. We don’t yet know when we will know the actual impact.

In the first year alone, Texas public schools are expected to feel $168 million in education-related sequestration cuts, which went into effect on Friday after Congress failed to come up with a deal to avert the automatic spending cuts before the March 1 deadline.

This latest news comes as we are closely watching what’s happening in the 83rd Legislative session in Austin, with the hopes that lawmakers will do right by Texas school children and restore the $5.4 billion that was cut in 2011. As of Friday, we know, through news reports, that senate budget writers voted to restore $1.5 billion to Texas public schools. Given that that money is on top of funding enrollment growth, that’s a step in the right direction, but falls far short of the kind of restoration we are seeking for the students of SAISD and of Texas.

Many elected officials from San Antonio are getting the message to their colleagues that public schools MUST be funded equitably and adequately.We will continue to monitor funding issues and keep you posted of the impact or potential impact. Know that we value every SAISD employee – that means you! – and will take great pains to protect our employees, to the extent possible, in implementing spending reductions.

Dr. Sylvester Perez
Interim Superintendent

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.” – Anne Lamott


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