Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

How Much Your School District Might Lose If Lawmakers Cut Federal Spending

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    Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan speaks at a campaign stop in Ohio.

    GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s selection of U.S. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan as his running mate has spurred a lot of discussion about what the federal budget might look like if the Republicans were to take back the White House and U.S. Senate.

    Since Ryan’s proposed budget called for deep cuts in spending — including a 20 percent cut on “discretionary” programs (that includes education) — Ed Money Watch has run some numbers on how much a 20 percent cut in federal schools funding would affect revenues in the nation’s school districts.

    If cuts like those called for in the Ryan plan were to pass, Indiana districts would lose a grand total of $280 million in federal revenues. But no single Indiana district would lose more than 6 percent of their total revenues.

    EdWeek adds an important caveat, by the way: “Ryan’s budget seeks big cuts in domestic discretionary spending, the broad category that includes education… environmental, justice, infrastructure, and a whole bunch of other programs… It’s impossible to say just how big the cuts to K-12 would actually be.”

    We’ve pulled the numbers for Indiana districts from Ed Money Watch‘s dataset and posted it to a Google spreadsheet. Check it to see how much your district would lose if lawmakers were to cut 20 percent of federal education spending.

    In terms of total dollars lost, Indiana’s urban districts would hurt the most from the cuts:

    • Indianapolis Public Schools, the state’s largest district, would lose $32 million (4.5 percent of total revenue)
    • Fort Wayne Community Schools would lose $10 million (2.8 percent of total revenue)
    • South Bend Community Schools would lose $9 million (2.7 percent of total revenue)
    • Evansville Vanderburgh Schools would lose $8 million (3.0 percent of total revenue)
    • Wayne Township Schools would lose $7 million (2.8 percent of total revenue)
    • Gary Community Schools would lose $6 million (3.5 percent of total revenue)

    Kyle Stokes / StateImpact Indiana

    Indianapolis Public Schools would lose $32 million if lawmakers passed a 20 percent across-the-board cut in federal education spending.

    Only 28 other districts nationwide would see a larger loss than IPS in total dollar terms if such a cut were to pass. But IPS’s hit would pale in comparison to the $409 million New York City Schools would lose, or a $244 million cut to the Chicago Public Schools.

    But as a percentage of a district’s total revenues, the hardest hit Indiana districts would be in rural areas.

    • DeKalb County Eastern Community Schools, just north of Fort Wayne, would lose more than $1.8 million — roughly 5.6 percent of the districts’ total revenue.
    • West Central Schools in Pulaski County would lose $796,000, about 5.2 percent of total revenue.
    • Frankfort Community Schools would lose $1.8 million, about 4.6 percent of total revenue.
    • Mississinewa Community Schools would lose $1.2 million, about 4.3 percent of total revenue.
    • Crawfordsville Community Schools would lose $1.3 million, about 3.8 percent of total revenue.

    The average Indiana district relies on the federal government for about 8.5 percent of its revenues and would lose about $960,000 under a 20 percent federal spending cut.

    20 of Indiana’s 292 school districts receive more than 15 percent of their revenue from federal sources.

    As Jennifer Cohen Kabaker blogs at Ed Money Watch:

    While a 20 percent cut would be devastating for many school districts, others would lose only the aforementioned 2 percent or even less. These austere times mean that cuts to federal spending are likely. We hope that Congress is able to target those cuts in such a way that protects the most vulnerable students that benefit directly from federal spending. While Title I and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act special education spending are often the most discussed, it is important that programs like Impact Aid also factor heavily into negotiations. For many of these districts, such a cut could mean millions of dollars or a substantial portion of their annual revenue.



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