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Voice of the People

Nov. 14, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

Federal budget cuts will harm schools in W.Va.

On Jan. 2, schools throughout West Virginia will experience federal budget cuts of more than 8 percent, affecting vital education programs beginning in the 2013-2014 school year, unless Congress intervenes.

The across-the-board cuts known as "sequestration" are the result of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which mandates reductions in both defense and non-defense discretionary programs as a means of deficit reduction, with no consideration for vital investments in long-term economic growth. For school districts across the nation, it will mean more than $4 billion in cuts, and while the cuts to programs like Title I and Special Education (IDEA) are across-the-board reductions, our highest-need schools and students will suffer the most, as their share of federal funding is higher.

We know that education is vital to long-term economic health.

For all schools throughout the state, sequestration will mean a loss in funding of vital programs, loss of after-school and summer learning programs, less course offerings such as Advanced Placement courses, and possible reductions in services and employment of teachers and support staff. This will impact the overall quality of education and the overall economic health of our community. Already, we've suffered cuts to educational programs and student supports.

Now is the time for leadership in Washington, D.C. Join West Virginia PTA in urging our own members of Congress -- Representatives Capito, Rahall, and McKinley and Senators Rockefeller and Manchin -- to join with colleagues from both sides of the aisle to intervene and protect education. Deficit reduction is needed, but PTA is counting on Congress to sideline the bickering and reach consensus on a responsible approach that doesn't place disproportionate burden on students by decimating our national investment in education and long-term competitiveness.

Justin Raber

President-elect

West Virginia PTA

Driver's license law should apply to all

In regard to your reporting about the frustration, confusion and regulating of American citizens obtaining driver's licenses, consider a new law in California. Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed a bill saying "qualifying illegals will be given a stay of deportation, a work permit, a Social Security card and a driver's license," which piggy-backs President Obama's DREAM act by fiat.

This effectively makes them permanent residents, "removing almost all consequence from their being outside of the law" (National Review, Oct. 29, 2012, page 10).

The federal mandate for us citizens should be applied to all or discarded.

Fran Kern

Prichard

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