By being proactive, fiscally conservative and preparing for the possibility of sequestered funds, the Waynesville R-VI district will sustain normal operations through June 30.
"We maintain close relationships with federal leaders in Washington, D.C., and we heeded their warnings to be prepared for this first phase of sequestration when we made this year's budget," says Dr. Judene Blackburn, superintendent of Waynesville Schools. The district regularly receives information as an active member of the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools and the Military Impacted Schools Association.
Few districts in the nation will face the impact of sequestered funds more than the Waynesville R-VI School District in Waynesville, Mo. More than three-fourths (76%) of the student population is connected to the military in this district of 6,000+ students serving nearby Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. In 2011-2012, nearly 21 percent of the district's operating fund revenue came from the federal government.
The potential impact for next year's budget – if the second year of the sequester is not averted – is currently under study. "It's too soon for us to predict what specific cuts we might need to make, but we are preparing best-case and worst-case scenarios for next year's budget," Blackburn says.
As the second largest employer in Pulaski County, the district plays an important role in the community's economy. A 5.3 percent cut in federal Title programs could mean a $113,000 reduction in funds for those programs, while the loss in Impact Aid funds could be millions.
"At some point we may need to go to local voters to ask for their help, but our hope is that continued student population growth and a solution in Washington will help us maintain our excellent schools," Blackburn says. "We want to do everything we can to educate and prepare out students for the future, especially those whose parents serve our country every single day."