NY education could be hit hard by sequestration cuts

By Kelly McCarthy

February 27, 2013 Updated Feb 28, 2013 at 2:28 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) In just a few days the sequester spending cuts will take effect across the country. If no federal action is taken, it could mean dramatic cuts to education and early learning programs.

The impact of across-the-board budget cuts is looming over New York State. Education for children with disabilities and Head Start programs are expected to be among the hardest hit.

"The federal government is going to look at where they spend the most money and it is true they spend a lot of money in the special education area or to aid schools with high poverty or lower academic achievement," said Allen Buyck, superintendent of Broome-Tioga BOCES. "And if you just arbitrarily cut those funds they're the ones that are going to be cut first."

New York State is expected to lose more than $42 million in education funding Friday's deadline is missed. That would put an estimated 590 teacher and aide jobs at risk.

Broome-Tioga BOCES is preparing for a 9 percent budget cut for 2013.

"Total dollar impact to this area is about a $1.8 million cut," Buyck said. "Our schools in this area get about $18 million in funding through Title 1 and IDEA. So it is significant."

Head Start services will have to cut more than 4,000 children from its programs statewide.

"It's unfortunate because those are kids that are low-income, low- to moderate-income families that are most in need that are going to feel the burden," said Mark Silvanic, of Opportunities for Broome, Inc.

They provide early education to 259 children in the area.

"Unfortunately when we say we want to increase the quality of our education but then we're putting cuts in that cut teachers, and programs that are helping those most in need," Silvanic said. "You can't accomplish both things."

It's a combination Buyck calls a perfect storm.

"We have less state aid. We have a federal crisis that's occurring right now. We have higher demands for the achievement of our students. The governor's made proposals for expanding programs and they all don't fit together mathematically," Buyck said. "So something will have to give."

And they're hoping it's not a child's education that's first to go.

The deadline for Congress to act before sequester cuts take action is Friday, March 1.

Sen.Charles Schumer (D-NY) says he's hopeful a piece of legislation to take the Senate floor on Thursday will stop the impending budget cuts from becoming reality.

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