Education Department’s shutdown plan would furlough 94 percent

September 27, 2013

The Education Department would furlough about 94 percent of its workforce if a government shutdown occurs next week, according to the agency’s contingency plan.

(Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP) - Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

If the lapse in funding lasts a week, approximately 212 of the department’s 4,225 full and part-time employees will be working.  Another 30 employees may be called to work if the shutdown lasts longer than a week.

The department would still distribute $22 billion to public schools that is normally obligated on Oct. 1. This represents the second half of 2013 funding already appropriated by Congress to help educate poor and disabled K-12 students as well to fund career and technical education programs. This funding does not require further Congressional authorization.

Pell Grants and Federal Direct Student Loans would continue to be processed, although payments may slow if there are fewer employees to process them.  Other grant programs that use dollars that have previously been appropriated will continue, including Race to the Top, Investing in Innovation and Promise Neighborhoods.

Lyndsey Layton has been covering national education since 2011, writing about everything from parent trigger laws to poverty’s impact on education to the shifting politics of school reform.
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