No Deal on Sequester in Sight as Officials Lay Out Possible Cuts

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Mon, March 4 2013 at 6:30 PM, Updated: Wed, March 6 2013 at 5:24 PM

The deadline to avoid the sequester -- a series of deep budget cuts -- has come and gone.

Now as the axe drops, educators, employment officials and others are trying to prepare for impending cuts.

Officials are waiting on word from Washington on what the sequester means for specific programs.

Southern Oregon Head Start Scaling Back

At Southern Oregon head start, a federal early education progam, no deal on the sequester means officials have started laying out their next steps.

"We have to cut out about $345,000 between now and November first [...] so it will be a significant impact on our program this year," said Nancy Nordyke, Southern Oregon Head Start Director.

She said this current school year would most likely be shortened. Next year, however, 50 fewer kids could be attending  pre-school for low income families, which is already difficult to come by in the area.

According to Nordyke, there's also a potential for about 10 staff layoffs.

"We're scrambling," said Nordyke who hopes lawmakers can still come to an agreement and avoid cutting funds for Head Start.

School District Officials Meet to Discuss Specific Cuts

Meantime at the Medford School District, officials are planning for the worst and are ready to cut 10% from their budgets for title one schools which serve kids in our community with the greatest need.

"We will keep intact direct services to students. We still need our services to students in high need to receive [...] instruction on a daily basis," said Terri Dahl, Supervisor of Federal Programs at the Medford School District.

School officials will be meeting in the next couple weeks to determine specific cuts at specific schools. The scaleback would not be felt until next year.

Emergency Unemployment Benefits to be Cut

For people relying on the Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC), they will be saying goodbye to more than 10% of their benefit checks.

Oregon Employment Department officials told NBC 5 News they have been working hard to mail out notices to the more than 28,000 Oregonians who receive emergency unemployment benefits.

The average emergency unemployment check is about $300. However, as the sequester cuts kick in, it will mean roughly $30 less for every person relying on that income. The 10.7% cut will start the week of March 31st.

People receiving regular unemployment benefits will not be affected.

Job Search Assistance

Resources for people looking for work could be much slimmer too.

Over at the job council, officials said they haven't been given much information from D.C. but there's a potential that tens of thousands of dollars could be cut. It's a significant hit for people desperate to find work.



About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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