Big Bird could be facing some bad news.
Public-television stations would need to reduce their service, or in some cases, shut down completely, if the level of federal funding to public broadcasting is cut by the amount recently proposed, according to a new report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
In his fiscal 2008 budget submission to Congress, President Bush suggested cutting federal funding for public broadcasting by 25 percent, or about $145 million.
The GAO report, which surveyed officials from 54 licensees of public television, said that federal funding is crucial to station operation because stations can use it with broad discretion. Funding from other sources is usually restricted for use on specific projects.
“Twelve licensees with whom we spoke noted that another source of funds does not exist that could fill the void that would be left if federal funding were reduced or eliminated,” the report says. “Eleven licensees said that the station would discontinue operations if federal funding were eliminated.”
A version of this article appeared in the February 28, 2007 edition of Education Week