The Fiscal CliffDecember 12, 2012

I love Dave Ramsey.  He begins his nightly radio show with "...where debt is dumb, cash is king, and the paid-off home mortgage has taken the place of the BMW as the status symbol of choice." 

Too bad our federal government has not lived by the same guiding principle; then our nation would not be in the financial morass we find ourselves owing a debt of $16 trillion.  Perhaps with an avalanche of Americans calling, emailing and writing them, they will learn to live within their means.

In the meantime, though, sequestration is set to kick in automatically because Congress and the President cannot reach consensus on a solution.  Sequestration will cut where cuts should not be made and not go deep enough where they could.

Below is a letter members of our Board of Trustees and I are sending to South Carolina's senators and representatives in Congress.  If there is no agreement soon on our nation's fiscal future, and the automatic spending cuts mandated by the Budget and Control Act of 2011 occur, Spartanburg Two will be hit hard.  You are encouraged to voice your opinion to the people we elected about the issue, as well.

"This letter is from members of the Board of Trustees and the superintendent of Spartanburg School District Two serving Boiling Springs and Chesnee, South Carolina.  We are a district of about 10,000 students and 1,100 employees with a budget of $66 million.  To balance our budget for the current school year, we are utilizing $2 million from our general fund balance, primarily due to the insufficiency of state funding since the recession began five years ago.


"While South Carolina is slowly working its way out of the effects of a poor economy, local school districts continue to suffer from a reduction in state and local funding.  However, to this point, federal funding, particularly for Title I and IDEA, has always been stable.  With the impending fiscal cliff due to the failure of the Supercommittee under the Budget and Control Act (2011) to make the cuts necessary to reduce the federal deficit, our schools stand to lose 8.2% of federal funding for these programs for special needs and low-income students.  The negative impact on Spartanburg Two will be about $370,000, funding we use to employ seven teachers.


"While we understand and support the fact that you and your colleagues at the Capitol must rein in spending and reduce the national debt, please take these two points into consideration:  First, federal spending on education amounts to about one percent of the federal budget.  If you cut it 8.2% to generate a saving of 0.008% of the budget, it will not make even a dent in the deficit.  Second, education is a necessary prerequisite for economic growth to occur; the investment in education outweighs the cost.  This cut will have a damaging effect on our ability to provide a quality education to our 10,000 students.


"Please keep these points in mind as the debate continues in Washington.  Do not hesitate to call if you have a question.  Thank you for your service to the great State of South Carolina!"


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