Government shutdown has little effect on local schools

Classes, Head Start programs get mainly state funds
2013-10-03T00:00:00Z Government shutdown has little effect on local schoolsLauren Foreman/ lforeman@lompocrecord.com Lompoc Record

Local education officials say schools and Head Start programs throughout the Central Coast will not experience the effects of a federal government shutdown that sent hundreds of thousands of federal employees home Tuesday.

Maggie White, spokeswoman for the Santa Maria-Bonita School District, said schools primarily receive state funding and would not experience an immediate impact.

She added that some programs receive federal government reimbursements such as the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program.

“But we have enough cash on hand in our accounts to make any payments or pay any bills that those federally funded programs might incur,” White said.

Ed Cora, superintendent of the Guadalupe Union School District, said that most school programs are forward-funded — appropriations adopted earlier as part of the 2013 federal budget.

The Community Action Commission, a private nonprofit, maintains an array of services that include 25 Head Start programs for low-income residents throughout Santa Barbara County.

Fran Forman, executive director of the Community Action Commission (CAC), said 12 of those preschool programs, which use a combination of state, private and mostly federal funding, are located in Santa Maria.

She said because the federal government allocates funding according to different fiscal calendars for different organizations and agencies, programs that do not have an Oct. 1 start date will more than likely bypass the effects of a federal government shutdown.

“We’re fortunate,” Forman said. “It’s affecting other programs much worse.”

She said as long as the federal government resolves the problem by December — the start of the fiscal year for CAC Head Start programs — the preschools will continue operating as they normally would.

Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County (another nonprofit known as CAPSLO) operates Head Start programs in nine counties and two that serve Five Cities and Nipomo residents, said Chief Operating Officer Jim Famalette.

He said the fiscal year starts April 1, and the next federal funding allotment is August 2014.

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