Is Obama telling the truth about sequestration?

Some of the most dire White House predictions are about education funding — like the deep cuts in aid for disadvantaged kids that could hurt 2,700 schools and 1.2 million students. And states could face the loss of federal special-education funding for 7,200 teachers and staff members who teach children with disabilities, according to the reports.

There’s just one thing the White House doesn’t mention: Those cuts wouldn’t actually kick in until the next school year.

That’s because those two programs — Title I aid to disadvantaged students and special-education aid under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act — are funded in advance, so they’re already covered for this school year.

As Education Secretary Arne Duncan pointed out in a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee earlier this month, “the hardship will be concentrated in the 2013-2014 school year” because of the way the programs are funded.

School districts won’t be able to wait that long to plan for the possible cuts — Duncan’s letter says they’ll have to start making teacher hiring decisions in April and May.

But it does buy Obama and Congress at least a bit of time to negotiate a deal that could prevent the cuts.

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