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Federal cuts of $47 million in Utah will take a bite out of services
Budget » Mental health, substance abuse, education to absorb the $47 million reduction in federal spending.


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"You’re talking about people who are unaware of the system, but are in a crisis because they’ve been a crime victim and then are immediately immersed in a system they don’t understand," she said. "You’re talking about rape victims who immediately need to go to a hospital and receive treatment and crisis intervention. … You’re talking about child physical abuse and little children with parents who are sexually abusive."

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School impacts » Utah schools, for example, will take one of the biggest hits. Low-income schools are expected to lose $3.2 million in Title I funding, and districts will have to cope with a $5.6 million reduction to special-ed programs.

With the Title I funding, the impacts likely can be absorbed, since they will be spread across numerous schools. School districts and charter schools, which are now putting together their budgets for the next school year, will simply need to plan for the reduced funds.

When it comes to special-ed funding, the state has to maintain the same level of services for students in the program, said Bruce Williams, the Utah Department of Education’s budget director. That likely means having to shift dollars from other programs to make up for the reduced federal funding.

"They’re just going to have to adjust," said Williams. "It’s sad to say, but it’s just what they’re going to have to do from the Utah State Office of Education’s perspective."

But it is not a major hit, Williams said, considering federal funding makes up 7 percent of the public school budget, and a 5 percent reduction to that means just a 0.35 percent overall education reduction.

Mining money » Resource-producing counties will face the loss of $2.8 million in mineral-lease payments, which are distributed to communities affected by oil and gas drilling to help build roads, buildings, parks, water systems and to meet demands created by the industries.

"That’s real money. It does make a difference," said Mike McKee, a Uintah County commissioner and member of the Community Impact Board, which allocates the mineral-lease funds.


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McKee said the mineral-lease funds were used to build a new senior center and library in his community.

"A lot of good, worthwhile projects have been built," he said. "It’s concerning to us to see those cuts. We certainly hope they’re not permanent, and we hope we at least minimize the damage that is done."

Utah’s Division of Emergency Management will lose about $378,000 in emergency management and homeland-security grants, but those cuts will be spread among numerous agencies, so the impacts should not be major, said Joe Dougherty, spokesman for the division.

It could mean the division won’t put on as many emergency-preparedness fairs or could scale back other outreach programs, but layoffs are not anticipated.

gehrke@sltrib.com

Twitter: @RobertGehrke



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