February 15, 2013

Kaine Meets with Educators in Alexandria to Discuss Sequester Impacts

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine held a roundtable discussion with members of the education community at the Campagna Center in Alexandria today to discuss the potential impacts of across-the-board sequestration cuts and budget uncertainty on education priorities. 

“There’s been a great deal of attention paid to what sequestration would mean to defense, but the self-inflicted budgetary wounds we stand to incur on March 1 would also mean a significant retrenchment from critical education programs and other non-defense priorities,” said Kaine. “I’m extremely concerned about the effect the sequester will have on our children’s education, as well as our broader economy and economic competitiveness.”

During the 60-minute discussion, Kaine spoke about the effects sequestration would have on critical programs like special education, career and technical education, as well as Head Start. As Governor, Kaine made strategic investments in education and pre-K enrollment expanded by 40 percent. If the damaging sequester cuts take place, it is estimated that $47.7 million would be cut from Virginia’s education funding if the sequester cuts occurred. Additionally, 70,000 young children would be kicked off Head Start, 10,000 teacher jobs would be put at risk, and funding for up to 7,200 special education teachers, aides, and staff could be cut.

At the roundtable event, Kaine also expressed support for President Barack Obama’s mention of expanded early childhood education, including Head Start, during the State of the Union address. As governor, Kaine worked with members of both parties to expand early childhood education.

“I applaud the President for his commitment to expand early childhood education,” said Kaine. “Cultivating talents of our kids early will boost the economy in the long run and expand their opportunities for success. That’s why I was so proud to work with others to expand pre-k education in Virginia by 40 percent when I was governor.”

As part of his ongoing listening tour throughout the state, Kaine has met with educators, defense contractors and federal employees to discuss the impacts of the March 1 sequestration cuts. Throughout these discussions, Kaine has advocated a realignment of fiscal deadlines to allow an orderly budget process to take effect.