Sequester will shut area Head Start a week early PDF Print E-mail
Written by DAVID DUPONT/Sentinel Staff Writer   
Monday, 01 April 2013 08:40
File photo. Head Start provides early childhood education to students. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
Head Start kids in the area will lose a week of school because of the budget snafu in Washington.
WSOS Community Action said it will close its Head Start on May 10, a week before what was originally scheduled. The cuts were imposed because the federal government is reducing its grants by 5 percent in the current operating year.
Another 5 percent cut is expected next year.
All that’s because of the sequestration of federal funds that came about when politicians were unable to agree on a budget deal.
The early closure means more than 1,100 children in the four counties in the WSOS service area will start their summer break early. Almost 200 of those students are in Wood County.
The agency will also be laying off 140 staff members, 31 in Wood County, who teach those students.
WSOS reports that according to the National Head Start Association this is the largest cut sustained by the program.
“Our most vulnerable populations are the ones most affected by this cut,” according to Jacquie Wells, WSOS family development director, in a statement released by the agency.
Joyce Huntley, director of public relations, said that the agency is being asked to plan for further cuts is a clear sign that this is not a temporary reduction.
She said that there may be fewer openings for the program next year. It will be August before those numbers are available.
Head Start provides early childhood education to students. The WSOS programs also provide other services including: social, health and dental, mental health, nutrition, and disability.
The programs also engage students’ parents as much as possible.
Huntley said parents were “upset” when they learned of the cuts, and many whose children will be moving on to public kindergarten were relieved they would escape the effects of future cuts.
Last Updated on Monday, 01 April 2013 09:26

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