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School districts brace for fund cuts

As lawmakers continue to wrangle with the federal budget, local school district officials said they are prepared for the worst and are braced to operate with decreased federal funding.

“We are working off our projected budget which had those cuts already in it,” said Rhonda Holcomb, director of Title I and federal programs for Pueblo City Schools (D60).

D60 and Pueblo County District 70 officials budgeted conservatively, particularly for federal programs as a result of the sequestration earlier this year.

But U.S. Department of Education officials have said the impact of sequestering on education is changing.

In a recent survey of school districts in Colorado, officials have reported varying impacts on the effects of sequestration.

Districts receive varying amounts of federal money based on the different federal programs they offer.

D60 officials estimated it would be hit with a 10 percent reduction in federal funding or a little more than $1 million.

The district has projected the biggest hit to be Title I funding, which will decrease by $582,000.

“We have made reductions but we are staying as far away from the classroom as possible,” Holcomb said.

She said the reduction could amount to four full-time positions, which she said would likely be an instructional coach or interventionist position.

Other areas D60 has projected cuts is $197,000 for special education funding, $105,000 for teacher and principal and training funding, and $8,000 for English language learner programs.

The district also has prepared for at least a $16,000 cut in Perkins funds, which are used for career and technical education programs.

District 70 officials projected a $210,000 decrease in federal funding.

The district did not have specifics on the effect on different programs but noted that the reduction could result in cuts of five full-time positions.

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