How does the Sequester impact local schools? - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

How does the Sequester impact local schools?

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN. (WRCB)  --  If Congress does not act by March 1, a series of automatic spending cuts will take effect. Education, teachers and schools could be hit hard.

"It could impact much if not all of our federal department dollars, those primarily being Title 1 dollars and exceptional ed dollars," Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Rick Smith says.

There are 76 schools and three charter schools in Hamilton County, 50 of them are Title 1 schools and could lose their federal money.

"We're looking at about, somewhere in the neighborhood, if it fully were to be implemented as we understand it, about a 10 percent cut," says Smith.  

In a district approaching 60 percent free and reduced lunch, Smith says a 10 percent cut would be devastating.

"We would have to go to our board of education and really make some hard decisions, some hard recommendations on what to do," says Smith.

Smith says they have been preparing for the sequestration by going through different scenarios; however, he also says it's too soon to speculate.

Whatever Congress decides will not impact the current school year and they have a few weeks to sit on it. 

A final decision has to be made by March 27.

"For about three weeks Congress is really going to have to review what impact that this would have and obviously we'll track the reports as they come through," Smith says.  

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