If across-the-board federal spending cuts go into effect as expected on Friday, the White House estimates that hundreds of North Carolina teachers would lose their jobs, many families across the state would no longer get help with preschool or day care for their children, and 22,000 civilians who work for the military in the state would face pay cuts.
Those are just some of the consequences of the mandatory budget cuts, known as sequestration, which the White House is warning about this week.
In addition, wait times at Charlotte and Raleigh airports could grow by the hours as thousands of air traffic controllers and security officials would be forced to take time off. Operations may completely cease at Concord Regional Airport and Smith Reynolds Airport in Winston-Salem.
Rick Cloutier, aviation director at the Concord Regional Airport, said it’s possible to still operate an airport without a tower, although “you do increase some safety and reliability with a tower.”
The cuts will go into effect if Congress and the White House can’t reach a budget deal, under a bipartisan agreement crafted in 2011. For the last seven months of this year, military budgets would be cut by 13 percent and nondefense by 9 percent.
In education, North Carolina would lose about $25.4 million in funding for elementary, middle and high schools this year, starting in the fall. About 350 teachers and aides could also lose their jobs.In addition, funds for students with disabilities would be cut by an estimated $16.8 million. An additional 200 teachers and staff that help these students could be out of work as well.