GRPS Leaders Worried About Federal Cuts

Posted at 10:53 PM, Feb 04, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-04 23:02:30-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.–As Congress battles over steep budget cuts known as sequestration in Washington D.C., there’s growing concern about how the cuts to federal funding will impact the military and the country.

School districts, like Grand Rapids Public Schools, are part of the concern.

On Monday, sequestration was discussed at the regular GRPS Board of Education meeting where district leaders approved a resolution that calls on Congress to avoid sequestration, the automatic federal funding cuts that, without a deal, will start March 1st.

For the district, that would mean a multi-million dollar shortfall in federal funding.

“For GRPS  it is $2 million in cuts for the most at-risk,  high poverty students who need those federal funds,” said GRPS spokesman John Helmholdt.

“That would be a large cut in the face of the more than $80 million in cuts we’ve gone through in the last 10 years, at some point the madness has to stop,” he said.

It’s unclear yet how the district would make up for such a cut, but it would likely mean tough decisions and a loss of crucial programs to things like special education.

GRPS leaders, along with school board members from across Kent County, recently made a trip to D.C. to encourage Congress to avoid across-the-board reductions in domestic spending under the sequestration of funds.