Adult Education Provider Voices Concerns about Potential Federal Cuts

By: Estephany Escobar Email
By: Estephany Escobar Email

Education is one of the many areas that could face some cuts, if the $85 billion in automatic budget cuts goes into effect.

According to the National Education Association, federal education programs could face $2.9 billion in cuts.

Harrisonburg City Schools could receive $300,000 less if the sequestration happens.

Superintendent Doctor Scott Kizner said the federal government funds 10 percent of the school system's budget, which is about $4 million.

He said the school division is estimating up to 6 percent in cuts. According to Kizner, this could affect kids with disabilities, those who have English as a Second Language and children from low-income homes.

However, sequestration would not only affect K-12 education, but also adult education programs.

Skyline Literacy Director Elizabeth Girvan said she fears the cuts in education could also affect her budget.

"Providers like us are trying to squeeze more services out of less dollars," said Girvan,

She said that's why they hosted a Scrabble fundraiser to keep up with the growing need.

"Community help is absolutely key for us," said Girvan.

She said the community's support makes up 50 percent of the budget.

"We used to receive Department of Education funding. I would say half of our budget we received from the Department of Education that's just about gone. We receive a very small portion," said Girvan.

However, she said even that small percentage could be cut, if the sequestration takes place.

"We are talking about maybe eliminating programs, eliminating staff," said Girvan.

According to the NEA, nationwide, programs that support adult basic and literacy education could face a $30.3 million cut.

NEA reports in Virginia, 1,600 students could be affected and 12 people could lose their jobs.

"It impacts not just the adults that we serve but it impacts families, it impacts the children," said Girvan.

Mary Rouse who attended the fundraiser to support Skyline Literacy said the programs offered are vital to the community.

"It does a great deal of service in helping adults read well enough to read maps in order to be able to drive a truck and make a living for the family. It's also useful in English as a second language," said Girvan.

Girvan said the non-profit serves 250 adults a year.

"The need is still there and is actually growing," said Girvan.

At the fundraiser, the non-profit raised $3,500. Girvan said this amount is significant for their organization and she hopes no further cuts could hurt their programs.

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