Superintendent Dr. Sandra Brower said it’s too soon to say how the Lacey Township School District could be impacted by federally proposed sequestration spending cuts.
Funding for education in New Jersey would be slashed by nearly $30 million and drastic cuts made to health care programs and environmental protection should Congress fail to halt $85 billion in "sequestration" spending cuts scheduled to take hold March 1, the White House said Sunday.
“It is too early to speculate how sequestration will affect our district,” Brower said.
With state aid figures for school districts expected to be announced by the end of the week, it is possible those numbers could be modified if Congress approves the spending cuts, she said.
But it’s “too early to tell,” how Lacey would see those cuts, she said.
“We are still in budget development,” Brower said, adding that sequestration spending cuts would not apply to this budget year.
New programs such as the implementation of full day kindergarten for the 2013-14 school year as well as technology, random drug testing and school safety initiatives would not be impacted, she said.
“My hope is that there will always be additional state aid to offset the cost of education that is placed on the local taxpayer,” she said.
Township administrator and Municipal Clerk Veronica Laureigh also said it's too soon to say how Lacey could be impacted by the proposed cuts.
"We have no idea how much the cuts could be at this point," she said. "Federally, the only impact we see is how it could affect grants we apply for that come from federal aid for infrastructure improvements."
The township does not receive state aid to incorporate into its budget but does get which the township has expressed concern could get cut in the past. The Energy Tax Receipt accounts for 42.6 percent of Lacey's budget. The township has been told to anticipate the equivalent of 2012 levels, which is .
"Lacey Township is in the very early stages of budget development and have been working with the department heads reviewing requests," Laureigh said. "Of course the township is always hopeful that we will not see a decrease in our ETR figure."
Through sequestration, the federal government would also save $75 million by furloughing 11,000 civilian military contractors, and another $59 million by cutting funding to military bases.
The cuts would include:
- Approximately $11.7 million in funding for primary and secondary education.
- About $17 million in funds for about 210 teachers, aides, and staff who help children with disabilities.
- Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for approximately 1,300 children.
- New Jersey would lose about $4,891,000 in environmental funding, and $472,000 in grants for fish and wildlife protection.
- Approximately 11,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed.
- Army base operation funding would be cut by about $52 million in New Jersey. Funding for Air Force operations in New Jersey would be cut by about $7 million.
- New Jersey will lose about $336,000 in Justice Assistance Grants.
- Up to 600 disadvantaged and vulnerable children could lose access to child care.
- Around 3,930 fewer children will receive vaccines.
- New Jersey will lose approximately $840,000 in funds to help upgrade its ability to respond to public health threats including infectious diseases, natural disasters, and biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological events. New Jersey will lose about $2,330,000 in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse, resulting in around 3100 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs. And the New Jersey State Department of Health and Senior Services will lose about $752,000 resulting in around18,800 fewer HIV tests.
- New Jersey could lose up to $187,000 in funds that provide services to victims of domestic violence, resulting in up to 700 fewer victims being served.
- Nutrition Assistance for Seniors: New Jersey would lose approximately $488,000 in funds that provide meals for seniors.
The total federal spending cuts would be about $1.2 trillion over the next nine years. Republicans have accused the president of using the impending cuts for political gain.
President Obama's plan asks for increased tax revenues to offset some of the trillion-dollar cuts.