Budget cuts and Piedmont schools

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.-- Educators from Forsyth County went to Raleigh today to join other educators from across the state, in trying to understand what sequestration could mean to local classrooms.

The White House projects North Carolina could lose more than $41 million dollars and 500 teaching positions, and many of the cuts are coming from special education programs for children with disabilities.

Sam Dempsey oversees special education in Forsyth County, and says in his district, there are 7,000 children with disabilities served by the school system.  Most of their programs are mandated by law, so Dempsey says any cuts there would equate to cuts in other parts of the system in order to make up the difference.

"You've got to provide these services there is no question about that," says Dempsey.

He says it's still not clear exactly which federal programs are at risk, and the amount in jeopardy keeps changing.

"It seems like what they are doing is taking money away from those that can least stand the reduction," says Dempsey.

Ann Petitjean of Forsyth County Educator's Association says, the looming cuts could be harsh.

"With the sequester I think we will see some pretty drastic changes that we are not prepared for in public schools," says Petitjean.

Forsyth County leaders say if cuts happen, it won't impact programs already underway this year. They say if there is no deal by Friday, sequestration will force a change in tone of budget talks for next year because, it will mean changes in all classrooms.