By Jim Acosta, CNN
Washington (CNN) – Education Secretary Arne Duncan says a West Virginia school district is laying off teachers due to deep spending cuts across the federal government set to take effect on Friday. But officials from that region say it's not true.
Duncan told reporters at the White House on Wednesday that the Kanawha County school system was already handing out pink slips in anticipation of the automatic cuts that, among other things, will impact the amount of federal money states get through September.
"Yes, there's a district where it's happened. But, again, it's just because they have an earlier union notification than most – Kanawha County, West Virginia," Duncan said at the latest White House briefing where Cabinet officers detailed the impact of cuts under the so-called congressional sequester to their agency programs.
"Whether it's all sequester-related, I don't know, but these are teachers who are getting pink slips now," he added.
But Diane Young, the coordinator of the Head Start program for Kanawha County Public Schools, cautioned that Duncan's explanation does not get an "A" for accuracy.
Young blamed Head Start. She said the federal program for needy children has yet to notify the school system whether it will have Head Start money in the fall.
"The Board of Education cannot wait that long for the funds to come through," Young said.