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An overwhelming majority of school districts don’t think they’ll be able to absorb a big, blunt federal funding cut headed their way if Congress can’t reach a deal on long-term spending by January 2013, according to a survey released today by the American Association of School Administrators.

Almost 80 percent of the school districts surveyed by AASA said they didn’t think their states had the capacity to cope with a planned, across-the-board cut to all federal programs of 7.8 percent to 9.1 percent. And even more districts, 83.9, don’t think they have the local capacity to deal with such a hefty reduction.

The survey provides ammunition to an army of inside-the-Beltway education associations who are working to convince Congress that the cuts are a bad idea and will be harmful to their communities.

Some background: The planned cuts—known as “sequestration” in federal budget-nerd speak—are the result of a deal last summer to raise the debt ceiling. The cuts would hit just about every federal education program, including Title I grants to districts, state grants for special education, and the School Improvement Grants.

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