Threats of Federal Budget Cuts Frighten Schools

Spending cuts in Washington may have a direct impact on Oklahoma students. Sooner schools could lose more than 12 million dollars in federal funds.

In Sand Springs specifically, that district could lose 93-thousand dollars. What that means is help for students, who need it.

Many schools depend on federal funds to help disadvantaged students, called Title One funds.

"Extra services for kids, tutoring. In our district, we hire lots of paraprofessionals that specifically work with students who are struggling in literacy or math," said Sherry Durkee, of Sand Springs Public Schools.

They could lose four or five workers who give extra assistance. Cuts would mean shuffling and finding a way to keep the same level of education.

"We are still wanting to provide a really great education for our students and I feel like we do that. And so what we are asking are staff to do is stretch themselves to take on more responsibility in order to provide the same services," said Durkee.

Teachers and workers have been doing more with less since 2008, when severe budget cuts began for all public schools.

Now, even special education students could feel the cuts if federal dollars diminish.

"The federal dollars are nowhere near enough to cover the cost of educating, so what happens is, we supplement with our state dollars as well, and so any loss of funds is detrimental," said Durkee.

If federal funds are cut, classrooms could get more crowded and students may end up working on their own, when they need more help.

Right now, schools will wait to see what happens at the federal level and at the state level as well.