Local sequester effects


IDEA grants pay for special education for more than six and a half million students nationwide.

The federal government sends IDEA money to the states, which then send it to local agencies like MARESA, the Marquette-Alger Regional Educational Service Agency.

$644 million in cuts to IDEA grants are part of the sequester.

About $21.5 million of the cuts are in michigan.

The Michigan Department of Education has not yet been told exactly how much of an idea grant cut to expect, but MARESA has been told to plan on about 5%.

MARESA superintendent Steve Peffers says that amounts to $170,000 for their special education programs.

MARESA serves about 2,000 special education students in Marquette and Alger counties.

Peffers says the agency doesn’t have the option of serving fewer students as a result of the cuts; he says anyone classified as a special education student must be served.

However, he says the school districts in the two counties will have to bear that $170,000 cost from their general funds, which leaves less money for their own general education programs.

The sequester has quite a few effects on higher education as well.

Federal financial aid for students will be affected, but at least at Northern Michigan University, aid won’t be affected very much.

NMU Financial Aid Office director Mike Rotundo says any cuts that do happen won’t be until next fall.

The sequester includes $71.2 million to college student financial aid nationally.

The cuts are shared between the Special Opportunity Grant Program and federal work–study.

Rotundo says NMU isn’t expected to lose any work-study funds at all, and he says it will lose some Special Opportunity Grant money, but he says it’ll be about a $10,000 loss out of $250,000.

He says that 4% amount is small enough that he believes it shouldn’t affect the number of students NMU is able to help with that aid.

In fact, no U.P. college or university is projected to lose any work–study aid.

Michigan Tech wouldn’t lose any Special Opportunity money.

Lake State is expected to lose 4.6%.

Finlandia won’t have any cuts there.

Looking to two-year schools, Bay College is expecting to lose 7.2% of its Special Opportunity grants.

Gogebic Community College is projected to lose 5.3%.

The biggest threat to higher education appears to be research funding.

The sequester includes about $7 billion in cuts to agencies like the National Science Foundation, NASA and the National Institutes of Health — agencies that support educational research.