Wallingford school stand to lose approximately $105,000 in federal funding if Congress goes through with the $85 billion sequestration — a series of automatic spending cuts that would affect the whole country — on Friday, March 1.
Those funding cuts come in the form of four separate federal grants allocated to the Wallingford school district for expenses related to special education, supplies and other school expenditures, said Superintendent Salvatore Menzo.
The superintendent said that, while the figures are estimates at this time, they were calculated based on analyses by American Association of Superintendents, a national organization that has been monitoring the impact of the sequester.
According to Menzo, here’s the breakdown on what Wallingford would lose under the federal sequester:
- $70,000 in Disabilities Education Assistance grant funding (DEA) — Used toward special education expenses.
- $25,000 in Title I grant funding — Used toward expenses such as reading and numeracy development.
- $7,000 in Title II grant funding — Used toward professional development in the area of curriculum instruction and best practices for students.
- $3,000 in Career Technical Education grant funding — Used toward resources in the classroom, like professional development.
“I think we have to take it one step at a time,” Menzo said, when asked if Wallingford was taking any steps to prepare for this potential funding cut.
While noting that these cuts very likely will come down, Menzo said the town still needs to wait if any information changes come Friday. If the cuts do go through, then Wallingford may just have to look into its current operating budget and make reductions where needed to offset the funding loss.
“Everybody (referring school superintendents) is trying to avoid an overreaction because that could only cause unnecessary concern,” Menzo said, adding that school officials in Connecticut are keeping a close watch on any information coming down about the sequester.
As far as the town side of things, Mayor William Dickinson Jr. said he assumed Wallingford would be affected, although it would be indirectly.
“Funds that we may receive for various grants or other programs would very well be in support by federal funding,” Dickinson said. “But I’m not aware of anything directly that would impact us.”
He noted that the town doesn’t participate in any specific federal programs.
“If it’s a relatively small amount of money against our budget then it will not have a huge impact,” Dickinson said. “It’ll probably be absorbed within the budget year.”