K-12 districts have one advantage over meat inspectors, military contractors, national parks staff, air traffic controllers, Head Start operators (see story) and others facing immediate cuts in federal funding as of Friday’s sequester deadline: time. Because of how districts budget their money, the 5.1 percent reductions in federal revenue that would go into effect March 1 under sequestration won’t be felt by districts until the start of their new fiscal year, July 1. That gives districts four months to plan for the impact and Congress and President Obama plenty of time to change their minds – or not.
In figures released Tuesday, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said that California faces $262 million in reductions in federal education funding from sequestration. With the federal government contributing only about 10 percent of total K-12 spending in California, and some programs, like school lunch and nutrition services, exempt from the round of cuts, that represents a tiny slice overall.