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California braces for impending cuts from federal sequestration

The combined effects of cuts in defense and other programs are expected to slow the momentum that California's economy has been building over the last year.

February 25, 2013|By Ricardo Lopez and Richard Simon, Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Unified School District is bracing for a loss of $37 million a year in federal funding. Supt. John Deasy said Monday that he is sending a letter to the California congressional delegation warning about the "potential very grave impact" of the cuts on Los Angeles schools.

Rachelle Pastor Arizmendi, director of early childhood education at the Pacific Asian Consortium for Employment in Los Angeles, said she anticipated that the cuts would cost her agency $980,000 in federal Head Start funding. That would force PACE to eliminate preschool for about 120 children ages 3 to 5.

"It's not just a number," she said. "This is closing down classrooms. This is putting our children behind when they're going to kindergarten."

The nonprofit serves about 2,000 children, providing most of them two meals a day in addition to preschool education. The cuts would mean PACE would have to lay off four of its 20 teachers, forcing the closure of eight Head Start classrooms, Arizmendi said.

ricardo.lopez2@latimes.com

richard.simon@latimes.com

Lopez reported from Los Angeles and Simon from Washington. Times staff writer Jim Puzzanghera in Washington contributed to this report.

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