Local Schools Unsure About Sequester Cuts Impact

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(Memphis) News Channel 3 has learned that several weeks ago Tennessee's Education Commissioner reached out to school superintendents cross the state telling them to be prepared for automatic spending cuts if Congress doesn't approve a budget by this Friday.

The Education Department suggested school systems create a plan based on cuts from 0 to 5-percent, saying it's judicious to be prepared.

But when we asked both Memphis and Shelby County Schools for their plans, we were told there is not enough information available to speculate about the potential impact of the budget cuts .

School Board Member Martavius Jones says it may be a little early, "It's an important issue that is on the radar right now but as far as our having those discussions and planning for next year, I still would say even with the impact that we could potentially have, it  would be premature at this time."

We do know a little about what the schools systems rely on when it comes to federal dollars.

The current Memphis City Schools special revenue budget  is made up of 180-million federal dollars.

The bulk of that money goes to fund  nutrition programs that provide breakfast and lunch to disadvantaged students, Title 1 and 2 programs that put teachers, educational assistants and counselors in classrooms, and Individuals with Disabilities, which pays for  LPNs, deaf interpreters and special education assistants.

"It could potentially have an impact on every line item within  the special revenue budget which is the federal revenue budget," says Jones.

The White House says Tennessee stands to lose 14 million dollars in cuts .

While no one is saying what specific program would take the brunt of it, services and staff positions are things you have to consider .

The cuts will  not affect this school year.

They would come for the next school term, when the new merged school  system begins.