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Sequestration Could Affect School Budgets Throughout NJ

State aid figures will be released soon

Schools throughout New Jersey face the deadline to submit the 2013-14 budget to the county next week with uncertainty as to whether $85 billion in federal "sequestration" spending cuts will be stopped by Congress before Friday. 

Districts will learn their state aid figures this week after Gov. Chris Christie delivers his fiscal year 2014 budget address Tuesday afternoon.

The release of the state aid figures triggers a sequence of events related to the budget process. Budgets for the 2013-14 school year are due to the county for review next week.

New Jersey could lose nearly $12 million in funding for primary and secondary education if Congress fails to halt the “sequestration” by Friday, according to figures released by the White House. 

The School District of the Chathams received $1,871,941 in state aid for the 2012-13 school year. This amount shows a one-year increase of $429,210 or 29.7 percent over the $1,442,731 received in the 2011-12 academic year.

Business Administrator Peter Daquila declined to comment until the specific cuts were announced.

The school budget will be introduced in an Open Finance meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Chatham Middle School.

Without action from Congress, the sequester would go into effect automatically on March 1, reducing spending by the state in a number of areas, including education, the environment, health, military and law enforcement, the White House said.

The cuts, according to the Obama administration, could jeopardize 160 teacher and aide jobs in New Jersey, as well as cut funding to 60 schools and 15,000 students.

Funding would be cut to the early childhood education program Head Start, vaccination programs for children and health services for seniors, among other things, and thousands of civilian Department of Defense employees could be furloughed, according to the White House.

The total federal spending cuts under the sequester add up to about $1.2 trillion over the next nine years.

Republicans have accused the president of using the impending cuts for political gain.

President Barack Obama's plan asks for increased tax revenues to offset some of the trillion-dollar cuts.

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