While Spring-Ford's preliminary budget is on the books already, it could still be affected by the looming sequester cuts that are scheduled to occur on March 1 if the federal government can't come to some agreement.
A White House release on Monday said, "Unless Congress acts by March 1, a series of automatic cuts — called the sequester — will take effect that threaten hundreds of thousands of middle class jobs, and cut vital services for children, seniors, people with mental illness and our men and women in uniform."
Spring-Ford business manager Timothy Anspach said in a phone interview that the budget already had a projected $200,000 loss of federal funds taken into account.
"There could be more cuts than that," Anspach said. "The IU [Montgomery County Intermediate Unit] could see another $200,000 in cuts."
"It's kind of scary."
Anspach said his concern is how the cuts might ripple through the economy. The sequester could affect not only direct funding, but other areas such as food costs and transportation costs.
"Could there be layoffs? Possibly, or teachers that retire won't be replaced," Anspach said.
Special education is also a concern.
"This is the fifth year in a row we haven't gotten an increase in special ed funding," said Anspach, "but we're getting less revenue."
The district would even feel the effects of wider economic issues. Parents getting laid off from their jobs could mean more children needing free or reduced cost lunches, which is an increased expenditure for the district.
Property tax reassessments could also hurt the district's funding.
"We just came out of a storm with the recession and now we could be facing another storm," Anspach said.
"It's hard to project what total losses could be. Or is the government going to kick this down the road again?" Anspach said. "The government keeps tweaking stuff and making it more difficult to get funds."
However, Anspach said, "Spring-Ford has just about the lowest taxes in the area."
The one positive is that the district has time to work on the problems a sequester might bring. The final budget won't be passed until closer to the end of the year.
"We'll go [with a budget] based on our best estimate at that point in time," Anspach said.