At-Risk, Low Income Families to Be Hit By School Budget Cuts - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

At-Risk, Low Income Families to Be Hit By School Budget Cuts

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) - The time to reach an agreement on the latest federal  budget crisis is growing short and here in Michigan, at-risk, low income students and special education families could be on the losing end if Congress and the president don't find a budget solution by March 1st.

If the Congress does not act, Michigan will lose about $85 million in federal education dollars--that's about 13 percent of the state's overall education spending. Special education students and low income students, part of Title One, could lose the most.

"The state hasn't had to do a lot of funding in the past. The feds take care of special education and low income kids and they're willing to put that on the chopping block," said Don Wotruba, MI School Boards.

Assuming the money is lost, schools will have to cut elsewhere to make up those loses.

"We've done a lot in terms of expanding pre-kindergarten, which may have to be by the wayside, larger class sizes, fewer extra circulars things like that to make up for it," said Peter Spadafore, with the Lansing School Board.

Meanwhile, legislative committees are working on the school aid budget and the loss of federal dollars, long term, creates a challenge, but one that Senator Howard Walker believes can be managed.

"I think it's something that is going to have to be managed and we'll be able to get a very good budget out and present it to the public given sequestration," said Senator Walker.

One way to manage the budget would be to take money out of the state's rainy day fund.

"There has not been the discussion about whether or not we would take money out of the rainy day fun, but that sooner or later will become part of the discussion," said Senator Roger Kahn.

While the folks in Washington consider the fate of these school kids, local administrations are bracing for the worst, while hoping for the best.

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