Budget cuts could affect 5,000 Idaho students

Idaho stands to lose some $3.7 million in federal education funding, if the “sequestration” budget cuts go into effect Friday, the White House said Sunday.

Five days before $85 billion of automatic federal budget cuts are scheduled to go into effect, the White House issued a state-by-state breakdown on the sequestration impacts.

Here’s what the report had to say about Idaho and education:

  • The $3.7 million in primary and secondary education cuts would jeopardize about 50 teacher and aide jobs and affect 5,000 students.
  • Idaho stands to lose an additional $2.9 million for teaching children with disabilities. About 30 teachers, aides or staffers could lose their jobs.
  • Head Start and Early Head Start cuts could affect early education for roughly 200 students.
  • At the college level, about 170 low-income students could lose financial aid and 40 students could lose work-study jobs.

The White House numbers differ from National Education Association forecasts on sequestration. The NEA said Idaho education stands to lose $10.9 million.

The White House says the sequester could jeopardize up to 10,000 teaching jobs nationally; 7,200 special education jobs; and Head Start programs for 70,000 young children.

There are exemptions to the sequestration cuts — in areas such as Social Security and Pell Grants for college students. Generally, 5 percent would be cut from nondefense programs, and 8 percent from defense programs. But since the cuts would come on March 1 — five months into the 2012-13 budget year — they would amount to a 9 percent cut in nondefense programs and 13 percent in the military. “These large and arbitrary cuts will have severe impacts across the government,” the White House said Sunday.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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