Roz Peterson, Lakeville's School Board Chair, joined 700 other school board leaders from around the nation to meet with Congress in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday to advocate for education programs that could be cut by the federal government by way of sequestration.
The school board leaders urged Congress to forge a bipartisan solution that puts education first.
The meeting was part of the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) 40th annual Federal Relations Network Conference, being held Jan. 27-29, 2013.
With the sequestration looming, more than 700 school boards have passed resolutions advocating Congress to stop the across-the-board cuts that would dismantle key education programs in their school districts. These federal cuts to K-12 public education would total more than $3 billion this fiscal year. Furthermore, these cuts would continue over a 10-year period and have a devastating effect on schools, the NSBA said.
“The federal cuts to public education would impede on the ability of school districts and states to sustain resources for programs that close achievement gaps, raise graduation rates, and retain highly effective teachers,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, NSBA’s Executive Director. “K-12 education programs have already been previously reduced on the federal level and the ability to absorb additional budget cuts and provide an enhanced curriculum for all students is extremely limited for many school districts.”
In this school year, 26 states are providing less funding per student to local school districts than they provided a year ago, according to the NSBA. And in many states, this reduction comes on top of severe cuts made in previous years, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
“Across-the-board cuts to education programs should not be legislated, especially for economically disadvantaged and students with disabilities,” said NSBA’s President C. Ed Massey, a member of the Boone County (Ky.) Board of Education. “Local school boards need to continue raising student achievement should not be consumed or overshadowed by record budget cuts. Key investments will help sustain and continue the progress school districts are making in school improvement, teacher and principal effectiveness, increased graduation rates, and college and career readiness.”