Sequester Cuts to Local Schools

March 4, 2013 Updated Mar 4, 2013 at 12:49 PM EDT

By WKBW Admin

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March 4, 2013 Updated Mar 4, 2013 at 12:49 PM EDT

BUFFALO (WKBW) The across-the-board budget cuts resulting from the federal sequester are expected to cut our nation's defense department, welfare system, homeland security, and much more. Cuts in the classroom are also looming.

The New York State School Board Association estimates Western New York districts will face cuts in the tens of thousands of dollars for next year's budgets. The biggest hit is Buffalo, potentially losing out on $2.5 million in federal funding.

"Anytime we lose any money, whether it is Buffalo or the suburbs, because education funding has been cut drastically in the last few years, any loss is a loss for all of us," Phil Rumore, President of the Buffalo Teachers Federation said in an interview Sunday.

But Congressman Chris Collins says everyone, including schools, needs to tighten their belts and become more efficient.

"We know there's waste. We know there's efficiencies we can put in place. We know there is some bureaucrat sitting in a back office that can be eliminated without affecting the front line," Collins said.

The current budget for Buffalo Schools is over $800 million, but because cuts to federal dollars come out of a smaller portion of the overall budget, the impact could be felt even more.

"Even though it may sound like 2 million dollars out of an 800 million dollar budget isn't a lot, well it's a lot when you're already operating at bare bones as it is. To think you can cut 2 million dollars and it's not going to have some kind of impact, it's wrong," Rumore added.

The Board of Education will have the final say on what programs or jobs will be trimmed or eliminated as a result of the sequester.

Rumore says right now, districts are simply waiting to see what happens next, and hoping something can be resolved before the cuts take effect on next year's budgets. He added that if these cuts were to become official, the Buffalo Teachers Federation would do everything it could to make sure any and all reductions happen as far away from the classroom as possible.