The Stokes County Board of Education approved a resolution last week asking the federal government not to cut funding for education.
Superintendent Ronnie Mendenhall explained at a meeting last week that in federal budget discussions there is talk of severe cuts to domestic federal programs, one of which is education. Unless Congress intervenes, the federal government could impose an across-the-board cut of 8.2 percent in January through a process known as sequestration.
Finance Director Lanette Moore had prepared a handout for the meeting regarding the potential impact. She said an eight percent cut would be around $437,127 for Stokes County. She said this could continue over a 10-year period. According to Moore, the county pays nearly 76 positions now with federal funds. If money is cut, some of those positions could be lost.
The areas most affected by the cuts would likely be technology, tutoring, staff development, pre-K education, and Exceptional Children programs. Of the nearly 76 positions currently funded by federal dollars, 27 are Exceptional Children teachers positions and 19.44 Exceptional Children teacher assistants. Some school personnel attending the meeting spoke up about the importance of such programs.
The funding cut would not take effect until next school year, Moore thinks. If it takes place, Moore said the school board will have to decide if it wants to shift dollars in the budget. That could affect general classroom sizes, HR Director Melissa Jessup pointed out.
Board member Mike Rogers said this bothers him because some of the most at-risk students could lose the help they needed.
The school board unanimously approved a resolution asking Congress to stop sequestration, as have many other school boards at the request of the National School Boards Association.
The Stokes County Board of Education will hold its next work session on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 8:30 a.m. at the administrative office in Danbury. The regular session will be held Thursday, Dec. 20 at 10 a.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church in King.