Texas classrooms could be hit hard by federal sequestration cuts – automatic, across-the-board cuts to federal programs that will go into effect on March 1 if Congress doesn’t pass a deficit reduction bill.
In Texas, the largest cuts would happen to public education, with $517 million dollars automatically cut according to the Texas Education Agency.
Ruben Longoria with the Texas Association of School Boards says the possible cuts are getting piled on an already underfunded system.
“Especially in a state like Texas that recently cut $5.4 billion in state funds,” he said. “We’re not going to be able to meet the demand that the state imposes on school districts to create a ready workforce or a student workforce that is college ready.”
In a December committee hearing, the Austin Independent School District estimated that it would lose $4.8 million in federal funding.
Public education will not be the only area affected. Cuts in Texas will also be extended to higher education, the Texas Workforce Commission, and the defense industry. Stephen Fuller at George Mason University estimates a loss of about 160,000 Texas jobs as a result of sequestration.