Possible cuts to federal funding has school districts worried - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Possible cuts to federal funding has school districts worried

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LOWER VALLEY, Wash.-- Some big cuts in federal aid funding could have a big impact on several Lower Valley school districts.
 
The funding cuts are the result of last year's failure by the "Supercommittee" to find more than a trillion dollars in savings in the federal budget.

The cuts will affect about 10% of the nation's public school districts including three right here in the Yakima Valley.

Wapato, Toppenish, and Mount Adams all get aid because of revenue lost from non-taxed federal land in their districts. Land like Indian Trust territory on the Yakama Nation Reservation.

It's called Federal Impact Aid money and 1,400 school districts across the country get some of it.

"We need that money for general operating funds," said Wapato Superintendent Becky Imler.

Wapato, Toppenish, and Mount Adams School Districts all get some of that funding. As little as $500,000 in Toppenish, but as much as $12 million for Mount Adams. It's money that pays for teachers, supplies, programs and countless other resources for students.

But if the federal government doesn't act fast, some of that money could soon be gone, thanks to across the board spending cuts called, "sequestration."
 
"The cuts are designated for what's seen as non-essential by the federal government, and currently, Impact Aid falls within that definition," said Imler.

"$250,000 would be probably a rough guess of what we might lose in revenue," said David Andrews with the Toppenish School District.

Wapato estimates about $300,000 could be lost and Mount Adams could see nearly a million dollars cut from their budget. Money that could have a big impact on the students in those districts.

All three say they have been preparing for the possible cuts to try and absorb the blow. Mount Adams going as far as cutting 8 positions from their district.

There is still time for the federal government to save Impact Aid funding. The cuts won't take affect until January 2nd and Wapato Superintendent Becky Imler says she's working with state representatives to try and save those dollars.

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