With the threat of sequestration -- lawfully-mandated federal budget cuts -- some Mid-Columbia school districts are following the debate closely.

If the across-the-board cuts occur, as has been said would happen with sequestration, Wapato School District officials fear several million dollars could be lost from vital programs.

Education Services and special bi-lingual and migrant programs are among several that would be affected. Wapato officials say loss of state funding has already forced cuts over the last few years, including what are called "reductions in force" (layoffs).

School officials report they are already making preliminary plans to deal with sequestration. The cuts are scheduled to occur nationwide March 1, unless Congress and the president are able to make a deal.

The sequestration is an after-effect of the Fiscal Cliff deal that happened in January. The expected budget cuts were "put-off" until March.