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Federal sequestration would cost Orange school system

If Congress does not find a way to produce the budget savings required by sequestration, Orange County schools will begin feeling the effects next year, School Board members were told Tuesday.

Matt Benefield, director of budget and finance for Orange County Schools, outlined effects that the automatic cuts laid out in the Budget Control Act of 2011 will have on the school system’s programs.

The automatic cost savings include across-the-board cuts to almost all federal grants to the school system for the next award year. The cuts are estimated at this time to be 8.2 percent.

The total projected budget impact on the Orange County schools would be $275,461, Benefield said.

The most significant effect would be on the Head Start program, where a nearly $63,000 decrease in funds would require closing one classroom that serves 17 children, he said. The Early Head Start program would lose some $42,000, requiring one position to be eliminated.

A decrease of $17,000 in adult education funding would cause cuts in staff hours, materials and supplies dedicated to that program.

Cuts to federal Title I through IV programs, as well as the Carl Perkins vocational education program, would total $153,632, and would affect teacher training, conferences and tuition reimbursement, professional development, supplies, travel, and technology and equipment for continuing and technical education.

While Congress has delayed the sequester an additional two months, Benefield said, that action would have no bearing on Orange County schools unless new appropriations legislation is enacted during that time.

Dan McFarland: