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Shutdown has 'no immediate impact' on Portland schools

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Shutdown has 'no immediate impact' on Portland schools

PORTLAND — The federal government shutdown does not have impact on Portland Public Schools for now, but it could if the stalemate in Washington continues.

The district is partially funded by federal grants, "but most of that money already has been committed or it is exempt from the shutdown," according to a news release from the district. Funding for special education, the No Child Left Behind program, and career and technical education are approved and funded.

“Thankfully, there is no immediate impact on our schools,” Justin Costa, chairman of the School Board's Finance Committee, said in the release. “In the long term, any economic downturn caused by the shutdown could result in less state aid to our schools and jeopardize important educational programming.”

The school meals program, which is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will be funded through October.

Gov. Paul LePage said last week that the shutdown will not affect many state programs and employees if it is resolved quickly, even if the programs are funded by with federal dollars. Some Mainers have been affected, however, namely 400 federal employees within the Maine Air and Army National Guard who have been furloughed.

U.S. government operations shut down Tuesday, Oct. 1 – the first day of the federal fiscal year – after Congress missed its deadline to pass a budget. 

The Democrat-led U.S. Senate has refused to pass a federal budget that would alter the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare," despite efforts to accomplish that by the Republican-controlled House.

Ben McCanna can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or bmccanna@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @BenMcCanna.