An elementary school student enjoys Field Day on a playground. Harold Begay, superintendent of the Tuba City Unified School District in Arizona, says the repairs that are needed to playground equipment, school buildings and buses would not be allowed anywhere else.
When Congress enacted the across-the board budget cuts known as the sequester in March, they cut $60 million for American Indian schools across the country.
Since people living on reservations don't pay state property taxes, the schools heavily depend on federal aid. For the Navajo Nation that means larger class sizes, fewer school buses and putting off building repairs.
A Bumpy Ride
Navajo children travel up to 70 miles to get to school. Many of them ride small school buses over roads that look like off-road trails for weekend warriors.
Eugene Jacquez’s family has grown beans and raised sheep at the base of the Culebra peaks in San Luis, Colo., for generations. He belongs to the Rio Culebra Cooperative and says without federal funding, many of his neighbors will be reluctant to sell to the co-op.
Credit Luke Runyon / KUNC and Harvest Public Media
As lawmakers debate the Farm Bill in Washington, millions of dollars are at stake for small businesses across the country. Rural development grants go out to everything from home loans to water projects to small co-ops.
Across the country, cash-strapped state and local governments are not just cutting services — they're also cutting access to courts. The tip of the iceberg may be small claims courts.
These courts, dealing with disputes involving small sums of money, are the workhorses of the judicial system. There are thousands of such courts across the country, but perhaps nowhere are they being cut more dramatically than in California.
The Pentagon says the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration could leave the U.S. with a military that is simply unprepared for the most challenging combat missions. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told Congress in April that the military is eating its seed corn.