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Local agencies brace for sequestration cuts

COC expects cuts to federal aid for students; city effects being calculated

Posted: February 27, 2013 5:04 p.m.
Updated: February 27, 2013 5:04 p.m.

California is due to lose about $87.6 million in funding for primary and secondary education, along with $1.6 million in law-enforcement grants, if the sequestration ax falls on Friday, White House officials say.

The education cuts could jeopardize 1,260 teacher and aide positions statewide, according to estimates. The White House also estimates that about 9,600 fewer low-income students would receive work-study jobs in the state.

Gail Pinsker, spokeswoman for the William S. Hart Union High School District, said cuts to the district will be minimal, about $536,000 out of a $179.6 million budget.

“We will be able to make do without those funds,” Pinsker said.

Bruce Battle, a spokesman for College of the Canyons, said the college is still working through what the cuts would mean.

But COC is projecting the loss of six federal work-study grants and 66 Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity grants.

Such grants provide additional financial aid to economically disadvantaged students, Battle said.

Sequestration budget cuts total about $1.2 trillion between now and 2021, according to estimates from the White House.

The cuts go into effect gradually and could still be avoided if Congress reaches a comprehensive budget agreement.
Santa Clarita city officials are still assessing the potential impact of the cuts, said city spokeswoman Gail Ortiz.

“We are asking each department to assess if there would be impact and to what extent,” Ortiz wrote in an email.

The picture for Los Angeles County is a bit clearer, as county officials claim the sequester cuts will amount to less than 1 percent of the $5.4 billion the county receives in federal funding.

Much of the federal money that flows into the county comes from programs, including Medicaid and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, that are largely exempt from the cuts, according to a county news release.

But several departments — such as the Community Development Commission, Department of Community and Senior Services and the Department of Public Health — stand to face cuts that could amount to 5.3 percent of their respective budgets, according to the county.

Each of those departments receives substantial amounts of federal funding through non-defense discretionary programs — among those to be the hardest hit by sequestration.
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