The Galloway Township Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution supporting an amendment to help the country avoid falling off the “fiscal cliff” at its meeting Monday night, Dec. 17 at the middle school.
Although it was unanimous, Board Vice President George Schwenger voiced concerns about the possible amendment.
“I vote yes, but something’s going to have to be done at some point,” Schwenger said.
Board President Ernest Huggard made sure he was the first to vote on the issue, voicing a resounding “yes” in favor of the resolution, which calls on the Congress and President Barack Obama to amend the Budget Control Act of 2011 in a way that would “mitigate the drastic cuts to education that would affect our students and communities” and would “protect education as an investment critical to economic stability and American competitiveness.”
The school district intends to send a copy of the resolution to U.S. Senators Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg; Representative Frank LoBiondo; New Jersey Sen. Christopher Connors; Assemblyman Brian Rumpf; Assemblywoman DiAnne Gove; the New Jersey School Boards Association; and the National School Boards Association.
The Federal Budget Control Act was approved in August of 2011 in an effort to resolve the debt-limit crisis that would’ve resulted in a U.S. default. As part of the act, a Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction was formed to cut $1.5 trillion in spending over the next decade. This committee was more commonly referred to as a “super committee.”
Automatic spending reductions, also known as “sequestration” are set to take effect at the beginning of next year as the super committee didn’t find $1.2 trillion in cuts by the end of last year, and the tax cuts passed by former President George W. Bush and the 2 percent payroll tax holiday are set to expire at the end of the year.
In its resolution, the Galloway School District expressed concern over a reduction of at least 7.8 percent in funding, or more, fearing it would lead to larger class sizes, fewer course offerings, four-day school weeks, loss of extracurricular activities and layoffs. It also fears an impact on grants, including those for disadvantaged children.
The resolution also references cuts of $835 million in federal funding that took effect for the 2011 fiscal year; a loss of more than $73 million in funding for elementary and secondary education programs for the 2013 fiscal year; and that the state already receives less support from the federal government for school expenditures than any other state in the country.
Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner have been involved in high profile negotiations concerning how to avoid falling off the fiscal cliff for a number of weeks.