CLAY COUNTY, Fla. -- The education of local students is at risk of falling off the so-called 'fiscal cliff.'
If the federal government can't get a deal done before the end of the year, millions of dollars will disappear from our school districts.
Action News has learned, if Congress doesn't reach a compromise, drastic cuts are coming to our local schools.
"This is our first, real encounter where a threat may affect us all," said former Duval County school board chairman, Tommy Hazouri.
Hazouri says federal funds are crucial when it comes to social programs at local school districts. That money could dry up as a result of stalled talks on Capitol Hill.
School officials in Clay County crunched the numbers. The district stands to lose more than $1.08 million a year for ten years if a compromise isn't reached. That makes up nine percent of the Clay County school's operating budget.
School board member, Lisa Graham, said multiple school programs face cuts:
Title 1, which provides free and reduced lunch to students who come from low-income households.
Race to the Top, a program that impacts teacher pay.
The biggest cut, according to Graham, will affect a program called I.D.E.A. That program assists students with disabilities.
"I dare say that republicans and democrats alike don't want to come home and expect to get re-elected knowing that they're going to be irresponsible in doing what they should have done a couple of years ago," said Hazouri.
Fleming Island High School parent, Hal Runnfeldt, says he's confident our schools can overcome any obstacle, even while lawmakers remain at a deadlock. "I think we've got a good administration. We might have to deal with a little bit of pain but I think we'll handle it OK."
Action News also checked with the Duval and St. Johns county school districts Thursday night. They were not able to provide us with projected cuts.