February 26, 2013
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Urges Congress to Prevent Devastating Cuts
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today urged Congressional leaders to work together and immediately pass legislation that would repeal drastic budget cuts set to take effect Friday under sequestration.
"Without Congressional intervention, automatic budget cuts from sequestration will take effect on March 1," said Torlakson in a letter to Congressional leaders. "After years of extensive state and federal budget cuts to education, these cuts will devastate communities across California…. These automatic cuts will cause long-lasting and irreparable harm."
Sequestration cuts could represent a $262 million funding reduction to California’s federal education program. These include estimated cuts of:
- $91 million for Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, intended to improve education for disadvantaged students;
- $72 million in special education funding for programs that serve the needs of students with disabilities;
- $2.8 million for public charter schools;
- $6.9 million for Career and Technical Education;
- $9.6 million in funding for English learners; and
- $3.7 million in Impact Aid affecting students in federally impacted school districts in California, including children of active duty service members.
"Further, these cuts come at a time when California is just beginning a recovery from state-level cuts of over $20 billion to education spending over the last five years," Torlakson added. "The California Department of Education, school districts, and local educational agencies will need to find ways to cut costs even further under sequestration. This could result in school closures; teacher and administrator layoffs; increased student-teacher ratios; the elimination of college counselors and school-based mental health personnel; and deferred purchases, renovations, and repairs. These cuts would come at a crucial time in a student’s life. Many of these students may never make up the lost ground."