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The Looming Sequestration…

02.27.2013, by Susan Conolly

This week the Military Child Education Coalition had the privilege to participate in a national teleconference of nonprofit organizations with Education Secretary Arne Duncan. The topic of the call was the potential impact of the upcoming Federal budget cuts under sequestration. In his opening remarks, he expressed the sequester plan was painful- no one ever intended that it would be put into effect.
While on the call, Secretary Duncan repeated the forecasts he recently made on the Sunday talk-show circuit: potentially tens of thousands of teachers and other school employees laid-off; cuts to special education by hundreds of millions of dollars; tens of thousands of students won’t receive higher education grants.  He expects the overall cuts will amount to about five percent of the annual Education budget for next year. On the positive side, he conveyed most of the cuts for education will come after the end of the current school year, so hopefully there’s time to restore some of the funding, should the sequestration take effect in March.
While expressing his doubts that a deal between opposing lawmakers and the Administration will be reached before the first of March deadline, he nevertheless encouraged everyone to make their voice heard on this issue by contacting their Congressional representatives and stressing the need for Congress to adopt a plan to avert the cuts.
Regardless of the political outcomes concerning sequestration, we at the Military Child Education Coalition are concerned about the unintended consequences of this very harsh process. Over 80% of our military-connected children attend public schools, and a little less than 8% attend Department of Defense schools. Wherever they attend school, the sequestration will impact children in a negative way.  It is our hope and desire that, at some point in the near future, our political leaders will come together and effectively legislate what is best for our country and our children.