Posted: Feb 27, 2013 8:00 AM
Updated: Feb 27, 2013 1:26 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI -- School officials are bracing for budget cuts ahead of Friday's deadline for Congress to pass a resolution to avoid across-the-board cuts, including those to education programs for economically disadvantaged students.
Under sequestration, or sweeping federal budget cuts, the Corpus Christi Independent School District will lose about $1.4 million, Chief Financial Officer Xavier Gonzalez said. "We are very concerned about this happening here."
The $1.4 million, he said, funds a variety of Title 1 programs for the district's 36,000 students, including Pre-K and tutoring services for those with learning disabilities. Title 1 programs are federally-funded and are designed to enhance learning for disadvantaged students.
Gonzalez said over 70 percent of C.C.I.S.D. students are considered disadvantaged.
The school district's board of trustees on Monday passed a resolution sent to lawmakers which reads in part: "...across-the-board budget cuts...would impact education by a reduction in funds...and could result in larger class sizes, fewer class choices, and significantly diminished resources...."
"We've now over the last two years been using Title 1 money to cover things like Pre-K that the state no longer pays for," said Corpus Christi American Federation of Teachers President Ray McMurrey. "Now to take all federal dollars away also we are really going to be strangle-holding all of our students in our schools."
Gonzalez said the prospect of losing a "substantial amount," of funds has prompted his office to develop two budgets for the 2013-14 school year - one that includes the funds and one that does not. Two budgets, he said, will allow the district to operate irrespective of what happens in Washington.
If the budget cuts take effect Gonzalez said it is likely the programs will be scaled back rather than canceled.
The outlook statewide is equally dire. The Texas Education Agency is estimated to lose $168 million in federal funding.
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