Austin schools will feel sequester this fall

Published 10:40 am Friday, April 19, 2013

The federal sequester, a set of automatic federal spending cuts which went into effect March 1, is not expected to result in any staffing cuts at Austin Public Schools, though it will have an impact, said Superintendent David Krenz.

“It doesn’t affect the district until next school year,” Krenz said. “We’re not planning any layoffs or anything of that nature because of it.”

Even so, Krenz said there would be some financial impact to the district, with 5-10 percent less funding across the board. Title and special education programs will need to be kept in place, along with law-mandated staffing levels. To cover that, the district may dip into its general fund.

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“We know we’re not getting that money at this point, “ he said. “It’s offsetting some possible additions and improvements we could make.”

For example, while the district is adding three full-time employees to accommodate its growth, Krenz said, that number possibly could have been higher.

“Maybe it would’ve been more if we didn’t have to fill in those gaps,” he said.

At Albert Lea Area Schools, positions and programs are being cut as administrators wait to see how budget issues are worked out at the state and federal level.

The Albert Lea School Board Monday cut about 10 teaching positions. All the teachers could be re-hired if funding becomes available. The district will also lose the equivalent of 2 1/2 elementary level Title I teachers because of the federal sequester.

“We are awaiting action from the federal and state government,” said Mike Funk, Albert Lea superintendent. “These are temporary layoffs in the hopes the positions will be funded.”

Funk said it’s regrettable that the district has to cut programs and positions as it waits for final state and federal budgets.

“It is unfortunate that we are compelled to make these cuts before funding is approved, but we are compelled to do it by statutory requirements,” Funk said. “It’s too bad the Legislature can’t change the laws.”

—Kelli Lageson contributed to this report.