CLARKE COUNTY, VA- Unless the government reaches what seems to be an unlikely deal, sequestration will take effect and education funding could take a hard hit.
According to a report released by The White House, Virginia is expected to lose $14 million in funding for primary and secondary education, if the sequester goes through. 14,000 fewer students would be served and 190 teachers and aides could lose their jobs.
"When we think about the needs of our title students, you think about our youngest students, special education students," says Dr. Mike Murphy, Superintendent of Clarke County Schools. "Those students that are struggling with learning, struggling with math, science, and english," he adds. "There will be a ripple impact with sequestration at the local level."
Some of the biggest education cuts would come to Title programs that support special needs children and Head Start which supports early education.
"Right now there are over 100 students on the Head Start waiting list in Clarke County, Frederick County and Winchester alone," Murphy says. "We're going in the wrong direction. We're cutting necessary programs and services for children when we need to be supporting these families during this terribly difficult time."
Cuts could be significant in each school district for next year's budget, local superintendents say. Frederick County could lose $230,000. Winchester City Schools could lose $135,000 and Clarke County Schools could lose $30,000 to $60,000.
The impact of the potential sequester will not only be felt in primary and secondary education, but at the college level as well.
Financial aid could be reduced for more than 2,100 Virginia college students, while 840 student work-study jobs could also be cut across the Commonwealth.
Locally, Shenandoah University financial aid officials say there would be small cuts to federal grant programs, and cuts to loans won't be drastic.
"The Federal Stafford Loan origination fee will increase from 1 percent to 1.053 percent, while the Federal PLUS Loan will increase from 4 percent to 4.212 percent," says Brian De Young, Associate Director of Financial Aid at Shenandoah University.
"So students and parents would see a very small reduction in the net amount of loan funds they receive. For example, a student who borrowed a Federal Stafford Loan of $7,500 and received $7,425 after the 1 percent origination fee, would now receive $7,421 with the higher fee," he adds.
No other parts of the loan program will be affected De Young says.
University officials say they will work to help students with work-study needs.