ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Automatic cuts to federal spending could sting many New Mexico school districts if lawmakers fail to avoid sending the country over the fiscal cliff at the start of 2013.
Gallup-McKinley County Public Schools would see a mid-school-year cut of more than $3 million, but Superintendent Ray Arsenault told KRQE the consequences for the next school year would be dire.
"Gallup-McKinley County Schools could be impacted to the tune of about one-third of our budget, which is about $35 million, so I'm very concerned about that," Arsenault said.
The battle in Washington is over "sequestration," drastic and automatic across-the-board spending cuts Congress and the president agreed to earlier this year in a deal to raise the federal debt limit. Bipartisan discussions involving congressional leaders and the White House to avoid what has become known as the fiscal cliff are continuing.
Albuquerque Public Schools would lose 1 percent of its budget for the 2013-14 school year. APS Chief of Staff Joseph Escobedo said this would result in eliminating up to 41 positions district-wide.
"These positions are in the most needy parts of town with students that are facing some of the most difficult challenges," Escobedo said. "Students with disabilities need a lot of support and services, and they would be the bulk of the cuts."
Escobedo said the district will look to the New Mexico Legislature to help cover the shortfall although educators are hoping federal lawmakers will reach a resolution.
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