On Monday, the bipartisan “supercommittee” officially announced that they are at an impasse and unable to agree on $1.2 trillion in cuts from the federal budget by this week’s deadline.

Unless Congress acts over the next year, the committee’s failure to reach an agreement triggers across-the-board budget cuts set to take place starting January, 2013. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that domestic discretionary spending, including the Department of Education, will be hit with cuts ranging from 7.8 percent in 2013 to 5.5 percent in 2021.

A 7.8 percent cut in 2013 is equal to a $3.54 billion reduction in funding for the Department of Education. According to the National Education Association, such cuts in 2013 would result in:

  • $1.1 billion cut from Title I
  • $896 million cut from IDEA
  • $590 million cut from Head Start

Our public education system has already taken tremendous hits during the latest recession, in large part due to state budget shortfalls, and cannot afford further cutbacks. In the past three years, nearly 300,000 education jobs were lost, with 277,000 more at risk next year, according to a recent White House report.

Numerous programs are exempt from the across-the-board cuts, including Social Security benefits, SSI, veteran benefits, TANF, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), Pell Grants, and Medicaid. Cuts to Medicare were limited to just 2 percent, and cannot come from payments to beneficiaries. The Defense Department will be hit with a 10 percent cut starting in 2013.

It appears Congress will be under tremendous pressure to pass a new deal over the next year to reduce the effects of the budget cuts, though President Obama announced he would veto any attempt to prevent these cuts.

NAESP will follow these looming cuts over the next 13 months and monitor the impact on education programs. We will also follow the nine remaining Fiscal Year 2012 funding bills (which includes the Department of Education budget), and continue to update NAESP members as necessary.

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Please contact NAESP at advocacy@naesp.org.

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