In this file photo, Alvin Wilbanks, superintendent of Gwinnett County Public Schools, speaks to a group.
SUWANEE -- Across-the-board budget cuts at the federal level could mean a $3.4 million loss to Gwinnett County Public Schools, according to Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks.
The planned sweeping reductions known as sequestration could take effect beginning March 1.
"The two largest cuts would be seen in our Title I grant -- approximately $1.7 million and our IDEA Section 611 special education grant
-- approximately $1.3 million," Wilbanks said.
Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), special education funds are distributed through grant programs. Wilbanks said funds from the grant in question are "primarily used to pay salaries for our special education paraprofessionals."
Added Wilbanks: "If these federal dollars are lost, the district would look to fund these positions out of our local budget. The use of local funds to offset or cover costs of programs affected by sequestration provides additional challenges to school district budgets that already are stretched thin."
In regards to the Title I money: "The district does not anticipate an immediate issue with services as a result of the loss of Title I funds as we will be able to reserve funds from this year to carry into next year."
Title I provides financial assistance to local educational agencies and schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families to help children meet state academic standards.
About $85 billion in impending cuts could affect a wide range of other government programs, with the defense industry in particular expecting sequestration to hurt contractors and businesses that depend on spending by them and their employees. Many economists have warned the cuts could devastate the fledgling economic recovery.
-- Reuters contributed to this report