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School District Takes Stance Against Federal Budget Act

The Congressional Budget Control Act of 2011 would slash federal funding for public education.

The Three Village Board of Education on Tuesday unanimously decided to urge Congress to rescind its Budget Control Act of 2011, the effects of which will lead to 8.2 percent across-the-board cuts in federal education spending over a 10-year period starting in January of 2013.

"It’s very important that we are joining the other advocacy groups across the state in trying to have this rescinded," superintendent Cheryl Pedisich said.

Most of the federal funding is used for the salaries of staff members who deliver mandated programs, which wouldn't be lifted. Even though the funding is used to supplement programs rather than supplant them, Pedisich said "our students would be definitely losing significant services that the district would then have to pick up."

Pedisich said the district would be hit in the areas of "Title I" and "Title II" funding along with its "IDEA" grant, which stands for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The three amounts together total close to $2 million.

According to EdWeek.com, Title I funding is "used to provide educational services to students who are educationally disadvantaged or at risk of failing to meet state standards." It's part of the No Child Left Behind Act, which allocated $12.3 billion in fiscal year 2004 to close the achievement gap between those populations of students as well as for students from economically disadvantaged families, though its roots date back several decades. EducationSector.org reports that Title II funding provided $3 billion for schools to promote teacher and principal quality, provide staff development, and reduce class sizes.

Cathy Taldone, the district's coordinator for school and community partnerships, said the district receives $161,341 in Title I funding and $161,726 in Title II funding.

"We’re just seeing an overall decrease [in funding], and of course an increase in what we’re mandated to provide," she said. "It’s not just our school district, it’s all school districts. It’s a major concern."

Richard Pulaski, executive director for pupil personnel services, said the district's IDEA grant is approximately $1.6 million.

"Any reduction in the IDEA grant would have a detrimental impact on staff and programs of the Three Village CSD," Pulaski said. "A portion of the money from the grant is used to pay salaries of district employees who work directly with students. In addition, monies from the grant also fund various district programs that would no longer be possible or their availability to students would be extremely limited."

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