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Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - 12:00pm

Cuts Come Quickly For Schools

School officials from coastal Liberty County are in Washington this week to let their federal lawmakers know how sequestration cuts will affect military communities.

Twenty-three Georgia school districts stand to loose $38 million a year in so-called Impact Aid that makes up for lost property taxes.

Impact Aid goes to school districts to offset losses when the federal government confiscates property for military installations.

In Liberty County, where children from Ft. Stewart make up 40% of school enrollment, assistant superintendant Jason Rogers says, Impact Aid accounts for 10% of the district's budget.

"Those funds are the funds that we have the most flexibility over," Rogers says. "The majority of our state and federal funds are earmarked. We really don't have a lot of flexibility with those other funds. So, it is a huge chuck and a huge chuck of very flexibile money that we have."

Compounding the cuts are their timing.

Unlike other federal school funding, in many districts, Impact Aid already is budgeted.

David Splitek of the Military Child Education Coalition says that means the cuts will be felt immediately as opposed to next school year.

"It's going to hurt quite a bit because you're in a budget year," Splitek says. "And now you're saying we're not going to send you the money when you've already planned for it, you've budgeted for it. So it's going to cause some problems."

About $85 billion in automatic cuts are scheduled to take affect next year as part of sequestration.

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