Sequestration: Western Tidewater schools, agencies face unknown

Published 10:08 am Wednesday, March 6, 2013


FRANKLIN—While Western Tidewater’s three public school districts remain in the dark on the effects of sequestration, one Franklin agency that serves children is faced with a 5.1 percent funding cut.

Come July 1, the Children’s Center expects a $250,000 cut for administering the Head Start program to 750 low-income children in Franklin, Suffolk, and Isle of Wight and Southampton counties, said Community Relations Coordinator Jeff Zeigler.

Whether that sequestration — a series of automatic, across-the-board cuts to government agencies totaling $1.2 trillion over 10 years — will result in cuts to personnel, enrollment or elsewhere in the Headstart program remains up in the air, Zeigler said Tuesday.

“There’s still some unknowns, and of course this could all change by July 1 if they come to an agreement and decide to go back to the way it was,” he said. “We don’t know yet.”

Last year, the Children’s Center received a $2.3 million contract to administer the Head Start program and announced it would hire 95 full- and part-time, boosting its workforce to 240.

The non-profit serves 300 Head Start students, providing them with free educational, health, nutritional, social and other services. It also serves an additional 450 through Early Head Start.

Western Tidewater Public Schools

Kenita Bowers, spokeswoman for Isle of Wight County Schools, said at this time, the impacts of sequestration on the school district remain basically unknown.

“From what we have been told so far, we expect that there will be some impacts to our federal grant funding for things such as Title I, Impact Aid and Special Education, but will not have any specifics until information is provided by the Virginia Department of Education,” Bowers said Tuesday.

Rachel Yates, supervisor of finances for Franklin Public Schools, concurred.

“We have not been sent anything from DOE (state Department of Education),” Yates said.

“We are having a meeting this evening to find out where they want us to head.”

She has been monitoring the situation through the National Education Association website.

Southampton County Administrator Mike Johnson said most federal funds the county receives go to the school district; 5.2 percent of the county’s $52 million budget is federally funded.

American K9 Interdiction

American K9 Interdiction President Paul Roushia said Tuesday sequestration has not affected the business in southern Isle of Wight County.

“Not at this time,” Roushia said.

American K9 is a police and military dog training facility in Walters. Two years ago, the company spent about $1 million to renovate a former minimum-security prison and juvenile boot camp on Burdette Road. The company also built a 200-space dog kennel.

American K9 last year moved its South Carolina operation here.