Albemarle Schools Brace for Effect of Federal Spending Cuts - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Albemarle Schools Brace for Effect of Federal Spending Cuts

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It's official; there is no deficit reduction deal between lawmakers on Capitol Hill. That means, effective Friday night, $85 billion in federal spending cuts will go into effect.

Many are unclear of those impacts, but Albemarle County Public Schools are bracing for a huge hit.

While these cuts are very new, and the details are still unclear about exactly how this will affect schools, administrators already have a good idea about what these cuts will mean, and how they will impact the classroom.

"As you narrow it down to my seat on the bus here, it's going to affect our schools," said Billy Haun, assistant superintendent for Albemarle County Public Schools.

In Albemarle County, that means about $2 million less for school lunches - a reduction that could push the cost of lunch up per student by about 50 cents per day.

"That's $2.50 more a week. You know that starts to add up, especially if you have several children in school. It gets to be pretty expensive pretty quickly," said Haun.

Albemarle schools could also lose almost $3 million a year in funding for special education and initiatives helping disadvantaged students.

"If the federal government is taking away the money, then that means we'll have to have more money in the Albemarle County School budget to do those services," said Haun.

"We'll have to step up and make sure we adequately fund our schools if necessary. And I feel confident that our board will do that," said Ken Boyd, an Albemarle County supervisor.  

With federal money likely to disappear, Boyd says local government will have to step in to fill some of the gaps.

"We can't pass these expenses on to anybody else, we have to pick it up," said Boyd.  

The full extent of the cuts is still unknown, but educators say they'll do everything they can to keep focus on what's important.  

"But it isn't optional for kids to learn. I mean you can't make that, are we teaching kids, you can't make teaching kids optional," said Haun.

Any reductions in federal money wouldn't be felt until the next school year, but next year, Albemarle is already looking at a $1.4 million deficit.

These cuts would only add to that shortfall, if more money isn't appropriated.

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