With budget cuts coming to education spending across the country, some Westchester lawmakers and school officials are calling on Congress to restore funding to their schools.
Proposed cuts are set to slash funding by 5% to schools nationwide. The cuts would go into effect at the beginning of the new fiscal year in October as part of national sequestration.
New York Congresswoman Nita Lowey is calling on Congress to restore federal education funding in the new fiscal year. She says the expected cuts would be a major blow to education in her Westchester and Rockland County district.
“More than 4 million a year in funding for aid for disadvantaged students and education for students with disabilities,” she said, “this would seriously impact Westchester and Rockland County.”
The federal cuts would come from Title 1 and IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) programs that benefit disadvantaged and disabled students. But schools feel the pressure of federal mandates to keep those programs going and therefore must funnel funds from elsewhere in their budgets to compensate. According to Lisa Davis, Executive Director of the Westchester-Putnam School Boards Association, these cuts will come in the form of reducing full-day kindergarten programs to half-days, downsizing staff and creating larger classes, and scaling back on arts and music programs.
“We’re in the point now where any additional cuts really are important cuts that are going to come out of the classroom,” Davis said.
Cuts are slated to go into place when the fiscal year starts Oct. 1. Congresswoman Lowey will be presenting a plan to Congress to restore the funds in the coming weeks.