Arizona Schools Prepare for Federal Cuts

March 07, 2013

Arizona public schools expect to lose more than 30-million dollars under the automatic federal budget cuts that started this week under sequestration. 

Some of the state’s hardest hit districts depend on “Title One” federal funds for disadvantaged children with special needs.

Phoenix Union High School District is bracing for federal cuts totaling at least 380-thousand dollars this year. 

That’s on top of the district’s two-million dollar budget shortfall before the federal cuts took effect.   

Phoenix Union High School District serves 26-thousand students mostly from lower income families in central Phoenix.  District spokesman Craig Pletenik said the sequester is a painful reality:  “We understand like a lot of citizens that  it was cutting like a meat axe rather than a scalpel.  So, that part is frustrating and its also frustrating  because most of our kids are the most vulnerable kids that we have out there.”  

Pletenik said time is running out because Phoenix Union has to approve a new budget by the end of June.  Ironically, he says under federal law, the district must fully staff education programs for disadvantaged students while federal dollars are being withheld.

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