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Sequestration cuts could hit education hard
Battle lines in Washington over spending cuts have been drawn and neither side seems to be backing down.
With the March 1st deadline fast approaching, The White House has released a list of possible impact each state could face.
One big impact could come to education. In fact, nearly $3 million could be cut in funding for primary and secondary education and over $3 million in cuts for children with disabilities.
Just exactly how those cuts will affect schools is still unknown, but whatever the impact, districts are preparing.
Right now it's the great unknown
"It's very hard to plan for something you don't know what's coming or how much it's going to be or exactly how it's going to affect children and families," said Head Start Executive Director Deb Ross.
Congress and the White House have until Friday to agree on spending cuts, if not, sequestration will occur.
"On a daily basis I'm getting emails and updates, and we're really keeping our eye on what's going on because it's going to affect our program immensely," said Ross.
Head Start and Early Head Start statewide is looking at the elimination of approximately 400 children being eliminated from the program.
"The biggest part of early childhood is having consistency, and so if we lose slots, those kids could no longer have a preschool to attend," Ross said.
There is also the possible impact of over $6 million being cut in primary and secondary education.
"The cuts, because of where federal monies are spent, are going to be devastating to our most at risk population," said Hastings Public Schools Superintendent Craig Kautz.
Nebraska will lose approximately $3.5 million in funds for about 40 teachers, aides, and staff who help children with disabilities.
"I understand the federal government needs to limit its spending, but what I would hope is they'd be more surgical about it than simply across the board reductions, especially when those reductions hurt our most at risk student population," said Kautz.
The group that could have the most to lose is those under the age of 5, when learning is the most critical.
"We're watching we're keeping, hoping everything goes well, but we will be very prepared if it doesn't," said Ross.
One big unknown is when, if this sequester were to happen, these cuts would happen.
Head Start says they have several back up plans and are prepared for whatever happens.
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