Sonoma County schools could lose $4 million in sequester cuts

Sonoma County's 40 school districts are bracing for a loss of more than $4 million in funding next school year because of federal budget cuts taking effect today.

The sequester cuts will cost local schools 5.9 percent of the $70 million -- or $4.1 million -- in federal funds for supplemental programs that include reading and language instruction, technology and free and reduced-price lunches.

The impact of the cuts seems months away, but actually comes just as school officials are planning schedules and staffing for the 2013-14 school year.

And with the $85 billion sequester cuts themselves at stake in Washington's political tug of war over a 10-year, $1 trillion deficit reduction plan, local educators are dealing with an outcome no one can predict.

"At some point, whatever they do is going to be real," said Doug Bower, associate superintendent of the Santa Rosa City Schools.

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