Lower valley schools bracing for more cuts

Lower valley schools bracing for more cuts »Play Video
WAPATO, Wash. -- Parents in the lower valley are upset after hearing more cuts could be on the way for local schools. KIMA learned federal funding for districts will likely fall by hundreds of thousands of dollars. The money for districts near federal land makes up for property taxes they don't normally get. Eight jobs were already dropped by the Mount Adams School District because of it. Action News found out what's next.

Wapato, like other school districts in the lower valley, gets federal money to teach these kids. Impact Aid goes to districts near federal land that lack a solid property tax base. Right now, Wapato gets about $1.3 million a year. Some of that money is now in jeopardy.

"It's kind of heartbreaking to know that our money is going elsewhere and not here to help our students," said parent and para educator Samantha Visaya. "It makes me feel kind of sad because all our kids already don't have enough supplies and everything as it is.”

Impact Aid only makes up a small portion of the district's budget so it may seem like getting it cut wouldn't matter, but the district says it does.

"In the past three years, we've had to make about three plus million dollars just out of the state funding that we've lost,” said Mike Bamelli the spokesperson for the Wapato School District. “So we've had our budgets nibbled away, nibbled away. Now we've got this very important source of federal funding that they are looking at cutting as well. We are going to take a hit if it goes away there is no doubt about it."

Wapato isn't alone Toppenish and Mt. Adams District also receive Impact Aid. Mt. Adams cut eight jobs bracing for the cuts.

"Short-term, the Wapato district will be fine if this budget for discretionary programs across the board takes place in early January,” said Bamelli. “Who know what's going to happen after that. We could see another $300,000 dollars in cuts coming our way."

That could mean teachers, sports and other resources taken from these kids. The federal government has until January 2013 to find more money for the program