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Public Education Could Take Big Hit From Sequestration

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Sequestration is a fancy name for across-the-board federal budget cuts -- and just about everything is affected.

"Police and firefighters that get money from the federal government, infrastructure, health care programs, environmental programs, anything that receives federal money will be impacted by sequestration, including defense programs," said Jamie Baxter, Director of legislative policy and advocacy for the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, which represents school districts in Allegheny County.

Unless Congress and the president compromise, beginning March 1, the executive branch will be required to implement cuts that will cost Pennsylvania millions of dollars.

Among the hardest hit will be public education, Baxter told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.

"With sequestration, there are no winners or losers, only losers and bigger losers," she said.

Every local school district will lose tens of thousands of dollars, but the biggest losers will be:

  • Pittsburgh, $3.4 million in cuts
  • McKeesport Area, $400,000
  • Butler Area, $368,000
  • Woodland Hills, $363,000
  • Uniontown, $319,000
  • Penn Hills, $229,000
  • Hempfield Area, $228,000
  • North Allegheny, $201,000
  • Wilkinsburg, $186,000
  • and Aliquippa, $172,000

Head Start will take a hit, too.

In Allegheny County, Early Head Start and Head Start will lose about a half million dollars in cuts.

  • Listen to Head Start Executive Director Blair Hyatt on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA:

Local educators have a message for politicians.

"Get your act together. You're hurting children and families," said Chris Rodgick, director of childhood education programs for the Allegheny Intermediate Unit.

As for military cuts, down on the rivers, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers commander Col. Bernie Lindstrom says $6 billion worth of local river commerce and flood control this spring could be endangered by sequestration.

"Every day, every week, we go through maintenance drills to try to keep this crumbling infrastructure from falling into the rivers," Lindstrom said. "This is not going to help by cutting at this time."

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