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School districts expecting more cuts

3/15/2013

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

With sequestration a reality, local school districts are bracing for likely cuts in federal funds.

Under a local consolidated plan, the Hays USD 489 district gets federal money for several programs, Mark Hauptman, assistant superintendent for special services, told the board of education earlier this week.

For the current year, the district is slated to receive $410,113 for Title I, $75,920 for migrant education, $123,438 for Title II teacher quality, and $14,271 for Title III English Acquisition.

"These are some of the programs that are at risk of some of these cuts," Hauptman said. "We could add to this, the special education aid that we get -- around $850,000 each year -- for our federal funds."

All five of the elementary schools are Title I schools, meeting the guidelines of 35 percent of the students on free or reduced lunch or meeting and exceeding the average poverty level of the district.

One school, Wilson Elementary, didn't meet the criteria, but is being grandfathered in this year.

"Whether they are eligible or not next year, we're not sure. It doesn't look likely," he said.

The district provides reading and math interventions to the lowest performing elementary students through Title I.

"This is an at-risk program. We do not, and never have gotten, funds to meet the needs of all students, so we only serve some of the students that are at risk," Hauptman said.

There are seven Title I teachers at USD 489, and 187 students were served, 181 in reading and 14 in math, last year.

The Hays district also has a reading recovery program in the five elementary schools. A total of 56 students are expected to be served in the early intervention program, Hauptman said.

Reading Recovery started in the district during the 1997-98 school year. Since then, more than 720 students have been through the program.

The Ellis USD 388 district has one Title I teacher and one paraprofessional who provide one-on-one instruction and collaborate with classroom teachers, said Superintendent Bob Young.

"We don't get a huge amount, $1,500 to $2,000," Young said. "It doesn't pay the full amount (for the staff). We have to augment."

Cuts in federal aid won't mean a program cut, though. The money will have to come from somewhere else, he said.

Victoria USD 432 also gets approximately $1,200 in Title I money, said Superintendent Linda Kenne.

The amount isn't large, but if it's cut, "it's so important we'll try to pull money from somewhere else" to make up the difference, Kenne said.