In response to inquiries regarding how the federal government’s shutdown may impact our school system, we want the Broward community to know that our schools and programs, including the Head Start program, are open. Educational programming and District operations continue at Broward County Public Schools.
*Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions regarding the federal government’s shutdown:
How many people will report to work at the Education Department today?
A lot fewer than usual. More than 90 percent of the department's employees—about 4,000 people in all—will be furloughed for the first week of the shutdown. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, of course, still has to come in. If the shutdown goes on for more than a week, more employees could return on a temporary basis, but it would not be more than percent of the department's staff.
This could lead to a frustrating situation for districts and state education agencies that are trying to get quick answers to their questions—furloughed federal employees aren't even supposed to be checking their work email today.
Will there be any delay to formula funds, such as Title I, special education, and career and technical education?
For the most part, no. Employees will be on hand to ensure that roughly $22 billion in formula funds to states and districts makes it out the door, as scheduled, in October.
What about competitive-grant programs?
Race to the Top, Investing and Innovation, and Promise Neighborhoods still have fiscal year 2013 money left that needs to be allocated by Dec. 31. Department employees may return to finish that job. (Fiscal year 2013 technically ended on Sept. 30.)
What about money from other agencies? School lunch? E-rate? Head Start?
Funding for most child nutrition programs, including school lunch and school breakfast programs, which are run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will continue through October.
Head Start, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is trickier. There are some 1,600 grantees but just 23 would have their grants affected by a short-term shutdown, according to an HHS spokesman. Overall, those centers serve nearly 19,000 children.So are all of those children stuck at home today? Not necessarily, the spokesman said. Some programs' budgets might be able to accommodate a temporary delay in funding; others may fill in with reserve funds.
As for the E-rate, the funds will continue to flow during the shutdown. The Universal Service Administrative Company, which administers the program, is essentially separate from the federal government, so it will be business as usual. The only caveat? If USAC needs guidance from the Federal Communications Commission, which oversees E-Rate, it will have to wait until after the shutdown.
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