How Would The Sequestration Affect Westwood, Hillsdale, Washington Township?
State aid makes up a small percentage of school and government budgets in the Pascack Valley.
There may be $85 billion in spending cuts across the country if Congress does not stop the scheduled "sequestration" by Friday, but the local effects may not be overly severe, officials said Monday.
Westwood Regional Acting Superintendent Rory McCourt said it was too early to comment because the state has not yet released its aid figures for next year, but noted that state aid made up only 3.14 percent of the Westwood Regional Schools' budget this year.
Gov. Chris Christie will deliver his fiscal year 2014 budget address Tuesday afternoon and inform districts how much state aid they will receive 48 hours later.
Westwood Regional Schools received about $1.7 million in state aid for their $52 million budget this year. Hillsdale Public Schools received about $800,000 for their $20 million budget and Pascack Valley Regional Schools received about $1 million for their $45 million budget.
New Jersey could lose nearly $12 million in funding for primary and secondary education if Congress fails to halt the “sequestration” by Friday, according to figures released by the White House.
"We'll deal with what comes at us," McCourt said.
Hillsdale Superintendent Rick Spirito and Pascack Valley Superintendent P. Erik Gundersen were not immediately available for comment Monday.
For the Bergen County government, the sequestration may not have much impact on services, County Administrator Ed Trawinski said.
Cuts to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Block Grants program are likely the only funding cuts which would affect Bergen County services, according to Trawinski.
"I don't believe — unless there's something we missed — that there are any other cuts that would come with the sequester," Trawinski said.
Congress has already made cuts to the Community Development Block Grants program for the past two years and county officials were already budgeting for little to no increase this year, Trawinski said.
The only unforeseen effect that the county may face is if cuts to New Jersey cause state officials to cut grants to the county, according to Trawinski.
"Once we know what Congress has done, we will be able to look at what the State of New Jersey will do," Trawinski said.
Without action from Congress, the sequester would go into effect automatically on March 1, reducing spending by the state in a number of areas, including education, the environment, health, military and law enforcement, the White House said.
The cuts, according to the Obama administration, could jeopardize 160 teacher and aide jobs in New Jersey, as well as cut funding to 60 schools and 15,000 students.
Funding would be cut to the early childhood education program Head Start, vaccination programs for children and health services for seniors, among other things, and thousands of civilian Department of Defense employees could be furloughed, according to the White House.
The total federal spending cuts under the sequester add up to about $1.2 trillion over the next nine years.
Republicans have accused the president of using the impending cuts for political gain.
President Barack Obama's plan asks for increased tax revenues to offset some of the trillion-dollar cuts.