Sequestration affects Hanover school budget

Posted on Friday, March 15, 2013 at 11:51 am

After an already trying budget process, Hanover County Public Schools is anticipating 5.1 percent cuts to federally funded programs in Fiscal Year 2014.

Congress’s Budget Control Act of 2011 imposed sequestration, or mandatory federal spending cuts, which went into effect March 1, 2013.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, the Hanover School Board learned how this might affect funding of local programs.

The current year’s budget includes $6.4 million in federal funding, which equates to 3.5 percent of the school division’s total budget. In FY14, that contribution increases to $6.46 million, or 3.6 percent.

Sequestration, however, is expected to chop off 5.1 percent of federal funds across the board in FY14. Several areas, such as Head Start, will be affected in the current year.

Terry Stone, director of financial operations, estimated that the school division would lose $80,000 in federal funds this year and $331,000 in FY14.

Staff came across different estimates during their research, but they consider the 5.1 percent figure is the most probable.

“Based on what we know today, we think this is the best estimate to use,” Stone said.

Dr. Daryl Chesley, assistant superintendent for instructional leadership, summarized the programs that receive federal funding.

Title VI-B provides support for special education and contributes toward direct personnel costs, as well as the purchase of data management systems.

Title I funding applies specifically to Beaverdam, Elmont, and Mechanicsville elementary schools and supports tutoring for students and professional development for teachers.

Head Start is a pre-kindergarten program currently serving 123 children, and it has a waiting list.

Title II funds support professional development at all schools.

Other programs supported by federal funds include: Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC), Carl Perkins Grants, services for families with infants and toddlers, adult education at The Georgetown School, Title III sub-grants for English language learners, and Medicaid.

“We don’t purport to have a definitive answer for you. What we are doing for you, though, is getting the best information we have and we’re planning for the future,” Chesley said.

“The future in Head Start is happening right now, so we’re making some concerted moves right now,” he added.

Effects on most other federally funded programs will begin July 1.

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