Sequestration could cost Louisiana more than $25 million in cuts to education

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POSTED: Monday, February 25, 2013 - 7:49pm

UPDATED: Monday, February 25, 2013 - 9:02pm

The federal government only has 4 days to stop spending cuts from going in to effect on March 1. If the cuts happen, Louisiana will lose $15.8 million for schools and $9.8 million for special education.

"The effects hit like a hammer when it hits folks, because it becomes the reality. There are folks that are teaching positions that don't even realize right now that they are effected by sequestration," Steve Monaghan, with the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, explained.

Monaghan said without the money school districts won't be able to pay teacher's salary. More than 300 teachers and teachers aids could be let go.

"I just see a decline in the school system, and I really think sometimes, I wonder, if it that's what it's all about. Just to destroy the public schools," Mary Johnese, retired public school teacher, said.

Johnese spent 31 years in the classroom. Now she's scared some of her friends still teaching could lose their jobs.

"Oh they are just disgusted. They are ready to get out. They are ready to leave," Johnese described. "They say they can't take it anymore."

Louisiana teachers are concerned the cuts would destroy the school system.

Over the past year state legislators changed they way schools operate. Since then teachers have had to take on more work. Now they're worried if the cuts aren't stopped they'll have even less supplies and bigger class sizes.

"What's happening in Washington right now can be defined as madness," Monaghan said.

He says he's seen a 30 percent spike in the number of Louisiana teachers retiring. Many others chose to leave on their own out of frustration. The cuts would only the situation worse.

"I think what the public needs to be concerned about is not only the loss of job, but the messaging to teachers that there is no hope here. That the chaos is ruling the roost," Monaghan described.

Monaghan says the federal lawmakers have to put politics aside and but kids first: "It comes down to this. We are good at saying we want world class education for all of our children. We are not good at translating what that means, what it looks like, and how much it cost to do that."

The cuts would affect 26 thousand students and stop funding for 50 public schools. Johnese said that is not ok.

"They are not thinking about how are you going to help the kids. Where are they going. They are thinking about how much money can we save," Johnese exclaimed. "If you don't have the teachers? What is going to happen to the students?"

For more information on the cuts click here.

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