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Cumberland County deals with loss of money

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -

Cumberland County Schools' superintendent expects his district will take a $800,000 hit from federal budget cuts this school year.

A large chunk of that money is given to the district because of the number of kids from military families.

"It's to make up for the fact that we don't get property taxes and we don't get a wide variety of things because of the military base," said Frank Till, superintendent.

That money was cut as part of the federal budget sequestration.

"With the federal government, until you get cash in hand, you can't spend it," Till said.

"That means less money for books, less money for teacher's pay, anything else," said Tracey Stropoli, who has a daughter in the school system.

"They could have come up with a solution that would not have impacted the education system, because it's already hurting them right now," said Sammy Gilliard, who has a grandson in kindergarten who comes from a military family.

Till said the cuts won't hurt this school year, other than putting off a few purchases.

"We would spend it on some form of technology and some non-reoccurring cost. So, by dealing with it that way, we can absorb the $800,000. It just means we can't buy technology that we were going to buy, but we don't have to lay anybody off," he said.

The superintendent is already looking ahead to next school year. He says the cuts then could be as deep as $3.2 million.

"We'll be looking at vacant positions so we don't have to lay off people, but those vacant positions, if we didn't have to cut them, would be going toward services for children," he said.

"They may have bigger classrooms. The teachers are loaded with kids in the classrooms now," Gilliard said.

"It's really going to hit us hard. I don't know how big it's going to be. We just got to be prepared for whatever happens," Stropoli said.

Statewide those cuts could add up to $60 million next year, according to the state superintendent. The cuts include money that's given to school systems based on poverty levels.

Justin Quesinberry

Justin is a reporter for WNCN and a North Carolina native. He has spent the better part of the last decade covering the news in central North Carolina.  More>>

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