Sequester School District

School District 51 began planning for sequestration when it fashioned its current budget, so the immediate effects of the slowdown in federal spending won’t be immediate.

“We held back 8 to 10 percent of funds in anticipation of the sequester happening,” said Melissa Callahan de Vita, executive director of support services. “So we’re in relatively good shape.”

The district set aside about $450,000 in Title I programs, which go to schools with high proportions of students who receive free and reduced-price lunches, and about $300,000 in funding for special education.

The district accomplished the savings by holding off some hirings, opting not to fund a coaching program, and other approaches, Callahan de Vita said.

One area in which the district might feel the effects of a federal slowdown in spending is in its pre-kindergarten program, Callahan de Vita said.

Though Head Start funding from the federal government is “totally separate” from the money the district receives from the federal government, a reduction in Head Start funding could put additional pressure on the district’s preschool programs or as more youngsters show up without pre-kindergarten education, Callahan de Vita said.

The district, however, won’t have to grapple with those issues until August, she said.


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