The Lawrence school district probably will not have to make immediate cuts to federally funded programs for the rest of this academic year if automatic U.S. government funding cuts take effect as scheduled on Friday.
"We would have enough in reserves in those funds to get us through this school year, so we would not have to make immediate cuts," Lawrence Superintendent Rick Doll said in an interview after the Lawrence school board meeting Monday night.
Thursday is the deadline for Congress and President Obama to reach agreement on a deficit reduction package before a series of automatic, across-the-board cuts known as "sequestration" take effect.
The federal cuts would mainly affect two programs in Lawrence and other public school districts: Title I funding, which provides supplemental money to high-poverty schools; and special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act, or IDEA.
Federal funding for subsidized school lunches would be exempt from the sequestration cuts, according to the Congressional Research Service.
"We don't know, but we think we have enough reserves to get us through on the Title I and the special ed piece to get us through this year so we don't have to make any immediate cuts if that happens," Doll said.
Although state and local officials have not been given exact numbers, Doll said he has heard estimates that the cuts would be between 8 and 10 percent of annual spending.
According to state-by-state estimates released by the White Housethis week, the cuts would mean a loss to Kansas schools of about $5.5 million in Title I funding and $5.3 million in special education funding.
The Lawrence district has six elementary schools that qualify for Title I funding: Hillcrest, Kennedy, New York, Pinckney, Schwegler and Woodlawn.
According to the district's budget for this year, it expects to receive about $1.8 million in federal Title I funding and about $2.3 million in federal special education funding.