A message from Commissioner Cassellius Regarding Federal Sequestration
Dear Superintendents and Business Managers:
Barring an agreement between President Obama and Congress by Friday, March 1, it appears that the federal cuts known as sequestration may become a reality. Without action, funding for numerous programs, including some federal education programs, would be cut.
It is difficult to know the exact impact the cuts may have on individual districts, but we can all agree that in this time of increased expectations for our schools, any cuts to education pose significant challenges. We also understand that the ability for you to plan for the coming year may be impacted by sequestration given that the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) may not know what state allocations will be made prior to district level budget and program decisions that usually occur in the spring.
We remain hopeful that Congress will come to the table to work with the President on a long-term solution around the federal debt and deficit that breaks Minnesota and the nation free of the cycle of uncertainty around federal funding. However, if that does not happen, it is currently estimated funding for most federal education programs would be reduced by approximately 5.0 to 5.3% in FY 2014. Under this scenario, Minnesota would lose approximately $25 - $27 million in federal education funding; this includes approximately $7 - $8 million for Title 1 and approximately $9 - $10 million for IDEA Part B. Most child nutrition programs such as school lunch and school breakfast would be exempt.
Should sequestration become a reality, we will share specific information as soon as it becomes available. If you have specific questions, please do not hesitate to contact MDE Program Directors for specific program information.
As always, thank you for the work you do on behalf of our students.
Dr. Brenda Cassellius
Commissioner of Education