Sequester impact on school district

KESHENA — At Menominee Indian High School, news of the potential sequester cuts has teachers talking.

“I think they feel defeated. With the state, and now the federal government, with the sequester,” said principal Leslie Shawanokasic.

Shawanokasic says cuts would affect 850 students district-wide.

“You're looking at staff, programming, maybe technology, that's critical,” said Shawanokasic.

Superintendent Wendell Waukau says his district could lose more than $361,000. The money is part of the $4.6 million the district gets through the Federal Impact Aid Program. 

Waukau says 60 to 70 percent of his $18 million budget comes from federal and state funds.

“So our tax base is so small, so in the event that this kicks in, unlike other school districts, we can't go to our taxpayers to make up this huge difference. To put that on our taxpayers, is not fair,” said Waukau.

U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble (R-8th Dist.) has introduced a bill that would give agencies flexibility in how cuts are made in a given agency.

Ribble says the sequester is a step in the direction toward financial responsibility on the part of the federal government.

“We cannot continue on a trajectory where we're adding a trillion dollars of deficit every year, knowing full well that every single dollar of debt becomes a future tax on the next generation of Americans,” said Ribble in a phone interview with FOX 11.

The deadline is fast-approaching.

“I'm hoping for the best. I'm hoping that Congress, in its wisdom, would come up with a package that would be acceptable for Democrats and the Republicans, and the nation,” said Shawanokasic.

The superintendent says people here may have to make up the difference.

“At some point we will have to. We're in the budgeting process for next year already. We may have to go to our taxpayers. What that looks like, I don't know,” said Waukau.

Waukau says he will be in Washington this weekend to meet with congressional leaders.

Copyright 2014 WLUK TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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