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B-P board takes stand against federal funding cuts

November 20, 2012
By LEVI PASCHER , The Leader Herald

BROADALBIN - The Broadalbin-Perth Central School District Board of Education has urged Congress and President Barack Obama's administration to amend the Budget Control Act that would make drastic cuts to education funding.

At Monday's meeting, the board unanimously passed a resolution supporting amending the act, which is part of the "fiscal cliff."

The fiscal cliff refers to a series of tax increases and spending cuts that could take effect early next year.

Article Photos

Broadalbin-Perth Central School District Superintendent Stephen Tomlinson and B-P Board of Education President Edward Szumowski listen to the board at its meeting Monday at the high school media center.
The Leader-Herald/Levi Pascher

The Budget Control Act of 2011 includes provisions to impose $1.2 trillion across-the-board budget cuts to almost all federal programs effective Jan. 2.

Superintendent Stephen Tomlinson estimated the Budget Control Act would cost the Broadalbin-Perth district $150,000 in Title I grants for disadvantaged students and Individuals With Disabilities Act funding.

Overall, he said, the district receives about $600,000 from federal funding in a school year, but that would be cut drastically if Congress doesn't amend the act.

"We openly and publicly do not accept the Budget Control Act of 2011," Tomlinson said after the meeting. "Our board wanted to take the proactive approach and be an advocate for our students to make it known that we do not support this act."

The cuts would affect education by reduction in funds of 8.2 percent or more and could result in larger class sizes, fewer course offerings, possible four-day school weeks, loss of extracurricular activities, loss of kindergarten instruction, elimination of summer learning opportunities, and significant teacher and staff layoffs, the resolution said.

The Broadalbin-Perth school district, as well as other public school districts, would be affected nationwide by an estimated $2.7 billion loss from just three programs alone-Title I grants, IDEA special education state grants and Head Start-that serve a combined 30.7 million children.

According to the resolution, federal funding for kindergarten through 12th-grade programs already was reduced by more than $835 million in fiscal year 2011, and state and local funding for education continues to be affected by budget cuts and lower local property-tax revenues.

The school district is urging Obama's administration to reconsider the drastic cuts to education that would affect the students of Broadalbin-Perth and to protect education as an investment in economic stability and American competitiveness, board President Edward Szumowski said.

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