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Hatboro-Horsham School District Scrambling To Reverse Expected Cut in Federal Funds

(The former Willow Grove Naval Air Station.  File photo)

(The former Willow Grove Naval Air Station. File photo)

Brad Segall Brad Segall
Brad Segall is the award-winning Suburban Bureau chief at KYW...
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By Brad Segall

HORSHAM, Pa. (CBS) — The Obama administration wants to “zero out” federal funding for school districts across the country that receive money for military lands that fall within a district’s coverage area.

That could have a big impact on one Montgomery County school system.

The Hatboro-Horsham School District has been getting $650,000 a year because the 1,100-acre Willow Grove Naval Air Station doesn’t generate any tax revenue.

But now, the Obama administration wants to cut off that funding, a move that school officials say they aren’t prepared for.

Now, Pennsylvania state representative Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery County) plans to fire off letters to his federal counterparts urging them to fight for the funding.  He says the district is in this bind because the Rendell administration tried to push through a commercial airport on the site.

“It wasn’t until those efforts failed that the local community could begin the redevelopment process, and as a result we don’t have an opportunity to generate local revenue on that property yet,” Stephens tells KYW Newsradio.

The district is already projecting a $1.7-million shortfall in its budget, which could result in program cuts and staff reductions.  An even larger deficit could hit property owners — hard.