Forced budget cuts lead to teacher layoffs in W. Virginia? Not quite.
February 27th, 2013
07:39 PM ET
2 years ago

Forced budget cuts lead to teacher layoffs in W. Virginia? Not quite.

Washington (CNN) - Education Secretary Arne Duncan says a West Virginia school district is laying off teachers due to deep spending cuts across the federal government set to take effect on Friday. But officials from that region say it's not true.

Duncan told reporters at the White House on Wednesday that the Kanawha County school system was already handing out pink slips in anticipation of the automatic cuts that, among other things, will impact the amount of federal money states get through September.

"Yes, there's a district where it's happened. But, again, it's just because they have an earlier union notification than most - Kanawha County, West Virginia," Duncan said at the latest White House briefing where Cabinet officers detailed the impact of cuts under the so-called congressional sequester to their agency programs.

"Whether it's all sequester-related, I don't know, but these are teachers who are getting pink slips now," he added.

But Diane Young, the coordinator of the Head Start program for Kanawha County Public Schools, cautioned that Duncan's explanation does not get an "A" for accuracy.

Young blamed Head Start. She said the federal program for needy children has yet to notify the school system whether it will have Head Start money in the fall.

"The Board of Education cannot wait that long for the funds to come through," Young said.

Kanawha County receives nearly $3 million in Head Start money each year. Without any kind of funding notification from Head Start, Young told CNN the school system must plan to do without the program in the fall.

"It's a huge hit," Young said.

As a result of the funding uncertainty, the school system is planning to layoff 16 teachers and 12 teaching assistants. But it has not done so, yet.

Currently, more than 600 children are enrolled in the county's Head Start program.

But Young said it's possible the school system has yet to hear from Head Start due to the drama over the automatic budget cuts in Washington.

"It's a possibility," Young said.


Filed under: Budget • Deficit • West Virginia
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Rick McDaniel

    The administration is orchestrating a lot of "damage" reports, which are basically nothing but a fabrication, to try and sway the public. It is dishonesty........in a BIG WAY!

    February 27, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  2. HenryMiller

    "But officials from that region say it's not true."

    The Obama asminstration lies like a rug–it's just what they do.

    February 27, 2013 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  3. Bob

    THE SKY IS FALLING! THE SKY IS FALLING! Give it a hair cut, GOPers; crying "wolf" for 5 times makes YOU boring and annoying.

    February 27, 2013 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  4. Names

    Everyone outside of area code 202 knows this thing is unlikely to happen. Congress has been passing these last minute avoidance measures for years. This measure would limit the spending for the rest of the year. Npt an immediate shutoff. Any manager who puts layoff notices on teacher's desks should be fired for poor judgement.

    February 27, 2013 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  5. Danile6

    Yet another "No Mas Pantalones" moment for this petulant administration-inflexible,arrogant and divisive-not good qualities in a leader-

    February 27, 2013 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  6. cbr

    Story does not match headline which was chosen to get people worked up. CNN needs to do better.

    February 27, 2013 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  7. Jim

    CNN, get your story right, this is not true & any news organization with half a back bone would find the truth in this story. Fear mungering with the biased media is ridiculous, the media job was once to report and hold government officials accountable and report in an non idealogical way so that we the people could base our decisions accordingly. The Scott Pelly's & Brian Williams of the world and even networks such as CNN/MSNBC/CBS/ABC & others have ignored true fair & balanced journalism.

    February 27, 2013 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  8. Names

    Anypne outside of area code 202 (and many in area code 202) knows that congress has been functioning like this for years. Passing late night, last minute, and 1 day late tax cuts, spending plans, borrowing limit increases. We also know that these cuts lower spending for the year, rather than cut all funds entirely.

    Considering these two facts, I believe any manager, superintendent, or director who attempts a mass layoff over something like this this early should be considered for a termination. It is a very poor excercise of judgement of the risks currently at hand.

    February 27, 2013 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  9. Sam

    This is too funny! A: it isn't true and is just a ploy to make republicans look bad (FYI, they don't need any help).

    B: We actually just learned that we earn too much money (and consequently pay too much in taxes) to qualify for public preschool. We pay for it, but can't use it! I'm guessing the preschools that turned us down and were hoping for head start subsidizing will be banging down out doors for the $5,000 a year we are giving to a private preschool!

    February 27, 2013 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  10. leonard

    I'm curious to know if any of the miners kids are in head start or wives or husbands of teachers you get what you vote. Keep voting republicans more harm than good.

    February 27, 2013 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  11. Jc

    You mean there is untrue rhetoric coming from the White House? Say it ain't so.

    February 28, 2013 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  12. Badboy

    Typical liberal...crying before he even gets his facts straight. Working taxpayers have to pay for their own child care while liberal sponges think everyone else should pay for theirs. These worthless govt programs do need to be cut!
    And that idiot in the picture (and his boss) also need pink slips. The entire Dept of Education is just a sham! The liberal
    philosophy always works great right up until you run out of other people money!

    February 28, 2013 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  13. E. Soliz

    Funny the state government has a cash surplus from lotteries yet will not use this to emergency fund this or are they applying media pressures to the White House?

    February 28, 2013 02:43 am at 2:43 am |
  14. SugarKube

    More lies and distortions from Obama.

    February 28, 2013 03:29 am at 3:29 am |
  15. Richard Long

    Someone lied to make obama look good in his Blame Game?! Yep... CNN better be prepared to get another "you will regret this" e-mail from the White House

    February 28, 2013 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  16. Marie MD

    I would say something about the education level of WV, but nah, I'll pass.

    February 28, 2013 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  17. Solomon Walker

    Uh...why was Kanawha County, West Virginia, in particular, extracted as an example on this issue?

    February 28, 2013 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  18. CraigM

    Another fabricated statement from a senior Obama administration official and this from the gentleman who is suppose to be leading our national education efforts! Fabricated untruthful statements from Sec. Duncan, what a way to teach our children honest in life! This entire administration if chock full of deceit and lies..........

    February 28, 2013 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  19. Ron

    This story makes no sense. Premise at outset is WH is exagerating, and teacher layoffs aren't really related to sequester. But ends with explanation that layoffs are due to uncertainty whether Head Start program will get federal funding. So the layoffs ARE related to the sequester. The story is written to cast the WH as misrepresenting the facts, and then essentially admits they are not. I guess the attack on the WH makes more sensationalism than simply reporting the facts.. Pretty poor journalism CNN!

    February 28, 2013 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  20. Legal Permit to Carry

    Funny how CNN shuts the sound off on stories like this...

    February 28, 2013 07:31 am at 7:31 am |