Deep and widespread spending cuts set to take effect Friday under sequestration could mean a loss of $103,000 for Groton Public Schools, based on the estimated 5.3 percent cut to federal education money, Interim Superintendent John Ramos said.
But there's more at stake in this town. Groton receives millions in federal pupil impact aid, a program which compensates local school districts directly for lost taxes due to federally-owned, tax-exempt land such as military bases. The premise is to provide funding to educate the children of military personnel in a community.
“In this environment, losing any money is an issue,” Ramos said. “But moreover, the school department also has department of defense money which could be effected.”
Last year, Groton received $3.89 million in federal pupil impact aid, which is not provided in one lump sum, Groton School Department Business Manager Carolyn Dickey said.
She said typically the district receives about half the money, or slightly more than half, at the start of the year, then the rest at the end. This is done in case the federal government has a cash flow problem, she said.
This year, the district budgeted $3.35 million in federal pupil impact aid, she said.
In addition, Groton receives about $200,000 from the Department of Defense.
On Tuesday, the Groton Board of Education passed a resolution authorizing Ramos to solicit support from legislators regarding the budget control act.
The resolution read, in part: ". . . Whereas sequestration, if there are no changes, will directly impact our workforce with potential reductions in our federal grants which will then become the burden of the local taxpayer . . ."
". . .therefore be it resolved that the Groton Board of Education authorizes the Interim Superintendnet of Schools to request that our legislatiors act on our behalf and work to mitigate any reduction in federal funding for public schools..."