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Local school officials not worried about government shutdown

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Department of Defense Education Activity funding may be delayed to schools if a bill funding the government is not passed by midnight Tuesday.

However, area school officials say the potential government shutdown won’t have much of an impact on day-to-day learning.

“We are wondering with the federal grants we have, some of them are funded in different budget years,” said Jack J. Boak Jr., Jefferson-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services superintendent. “We think those will be OK, but no one knows.”

He said the last government shutdown did not have an impact on area districts, because they relied primarily on state grants.

He said federal grants often are earmarked for districts with high poverty rates, like the ones in the north country.

Six school districts in Jefferson and Lewis counties last month received a federal grant to help students get ahead in science, technology, engineering and math. Lyme Central School Superintendent Karen M. Donahue, the DoDEA Rural Initiative for STEM Excellence grant leader, said the effect will not be “catastrophic” for the district. She is, however, concerned about families in need and military families who rely on government-issued paychecks to pay rent and buy groceries.

“Our first year of the grant is an organizational year, so it may not be as severe for us,” she said. “... I don’t think our RISE grant will take a hit right now, but if it goes into the second semester, we’ll really feel it.”

At Indian River Central School District, a district familiar with DoDEA grants and federal impact aid, Business Manager James R. Koch also does not see any major impact fro the school.

“While we are largely dependent on federal funding, we don’t have anybody here that we can’t pay,” he said.

He said those who were awarded grants this year will not have any problems. However, some issues may occur for those awarded grants in the federal fiscal year 2014.

“If the government shuts down, getting someone to cut a check will be delayed,” he said.

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