R-4 District faces loss of four teaching aides

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

During the 2013-14 school year, the Cassville School District's Title I paraprofessional staff could be cut in half due to the loss of funding that will be created by the federal budget sequestration.

"This year, the R-4 School District received $553,869 in Title I funding," said Superintendent Richard Asbill. "Next year's preliminary figures are $498,316, which is a difference of $55,553."

In addition to seeing a reduction in Title I funding next year, the district is facing an increase in Title I expenditures. This year, Cassville spent $587,038 on Title I programs, which means the district has the potential of seeing expenditures exceed revenue by $88,722 next year.

"The sequestration is causing a 10 percent budget cut, but our potential loss in funding is around 16 percent," said Asbill. "We could lose around 90,000 just in Title I funding, which is four classified aid positions. We are now trying to figure out a way to either accommodate and maintain or eliminate those positions."

Asbill said the district is further impacted by the fact that federal revenues are distributed as reimbursements, which means the district will need to absorb $88,000 to $90,000 in expenditures. Reimbursements are awarded after funds have been spent.

"We would need to utilize local funds to maintain these positions," said Asbill. "These are not teaching positions, but our paraprofessionals do a good job of supporting our educational needs. We will be looking at this closely and trying to accommodate the reduction in funding."

Currently, the district has eight Title I paraprofessionals who work in the primary and intermediate schools. The district also employs one Title III paraprofessional and numerous special education paraprofessionals. Special education funding is not impacted by the sequestration.

The federal legislature has discussed possible options that could be used to reinstate education funding.

"We would be open to amendments to sequestration or additional funding options, which would be great for us, but we realize that the likelihood of additional funding is minimal," said Asbill.

In addition to the reduction of Title I funding, the Cassville School District could lose $3,897 in Title II funds and $1,330 in Title III funds.

The R-4 District had $26,509 in Title III expenditures and received $13,738 in Title III revenues last year. If that amount is decreased to $12,408 the district could see Title III expenditures exceed revenue by $14,101 next year, which is nearly a 10 percent reduction in funding.

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