Tallassee City Schools Supt.: 'Sequester Will Hurt Personnel and Special Programs'

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By Jessica Gertler

Unless Congress comes up with a last-minute deal by Friday, $85 billion will be trimmed from federal agencies. Alabamians will feel the pinch, and our children are no exception.

"My co-workers and I have had conversations about it this week on what it will mean for the future of our staff and our children," says Andrea Cure. "If the cuts come like they are anticipating, it means less help in the classroom."

Cure is a multiple disabilities teacher at Tallassee Elementary. Cure calls Friday 'Doomsday.' That's because sequestration spending cuts will kick in, and her class will feel the effects.

If the U.S. congress can not hammer out a solution, the White House says Alabama's education system will lose $11 million in federal funds, and another $9 million in education for children with disabilities.

"Nobody can afford to take any more cuts, and the victim in all of this is the kids," says Tallassee City Schools Superintendent Kenneth Varner.

Varner says personnel and special programs will be hurt the most.

"Our special needs programs, the ability to provide structural assistance to those kids that have mobility issues, those services are all paid for out of our federal services budget," he says. "Those services will be effected."

Varner's daughter Kailyn suffers from a chromosome disease. Kailyn, who is in Cure's class, cannot walk on her own. And once the cuts go into effect, Varner says the nursing assistant helping her will be let go, because her service is paid for by federal funds.

"When we don't have the hands to help, that is when it becomes difficult," she says.

Cure says it's hard when she can't control her students future. Their fate is in the hands of Congress.

The federal cuts aren't just hitting the state's school systems.  It's also affecting early education programs and work study programs at colleges.

Congress has until midnight Friday to strike a deal, and if they don't, leaders of Tallassee City Schools say they have a short term plan in place.

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