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Civil service furlough letters coming soon

Military school districts feeling pinch


SAN ANTONIO - The more than 20,000 civil service employees in the San Antonio area can expect to receive furlough notifications within the next three weeks, according to Joint Base San Antonio spokesman Brent Boller.

"I think that a lot of employees saw this coming in the first of the year and so they were somewhat prepared for that and it was deferred until the first of March," Boller said. "I would say that they're probably mentally prepared for the possibility of furlough but that doesn't assuage the concern and the hurt it's going to cause some of these folks."

Letters are expected to go out between March 21 and March 25, with a brief reply opportunity during from March 28 to April 1, although Boller expects few -- if any -- exemptions allowed.

During the government shutdown in 1995 and 1996, some mission-critical employees were not furloughed.

"The other thing that happened in 1995 and 1996 when the civilian employees were furloughed, they were paid retroactively when they came back on duty," said Boller. "Sequestration has no plans for that."

Furlough decisions letters will go out from March 29 to April 24 and a 22-week furlough period will run from April 25 to Sept. 21, the end of the fiscal year.

"Some people have substantial savings or other means of support," said Boller. "Others, single moms, dads who are the sole breadwinners are going to feel it and feel it hard."

The cuts will also impact school districts located on military installations. Lackland, Randolph and Ft. Sam independent school districts rely on Impact Aid for a majority of district funding.

Lackland ISD superintendent Dr. Burnie Roper said preemptive budget planning, as well as reserve funds, should cover any shortfalls for the remainder of the 2012-13 school year, but the budget for the 2013-14 could see a 10 percent cut.

"We've had a Pre-K3 program for many years and we've recommended to the board that that program be eliminated from next school year," said Roper.

Lackland has approved a three-tiered budget plan that creates different scenarios depending on the total cuts to the budget.

The worst-case scenario could lead to a dozen lost jobs, but the district is looking at other ways to increase funding by accepting military children who do not live on base as well as slightly increasing food prices for students and staff.

"We're not looking at pay reductions. There could possibly be a pay freeze," said Roper.

Randolph ISD superintendent Dr. Billy Walker said the district set the current school year budget at 85 percent of the expected funding and also have reserve funds in case the cuts come in much higher than expected.


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