43°F
Sponsored by

Hundreds of Ozarks Families Impacted by Head Start Cuts

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- This fall, fewer kids will be on the playground and in the classroom because of the sequestration cuts. Nationally, Head Start's $8 billion budget was cut by 5 percent. About 57,000 spots for kids were eliminated.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- More than 57,000 kids will be cut from Head Start preschool programs across the country this year.  The sequestration forced Head Start to cut 5 percent of its budget.

Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation -- or OACAC -- runs Head Start preschools in 10 Missouri counties.

OACAC leaders believe these budget cuts mean that Missouri kids won't get the head start they need to be ready for kindergarten.

Andrea Williams' son attends preschool at OACAC. She says he had developmental challenges before starting the program.

"Now he's attending here and doing great."

Thousands of parents like Williams rely on Head Start. The program is free to low-income families if the parent works full time.

"It's just a well rounded program that offers them more than just daycare would," she says.

But this fall, fewer kids will be on the playground and in the classroom because of the sequestration cuts. Nationally, Head Start's $8 billion budget was cut by 5 percent. Fifty-seven thousand spots for kids were eliminated.

Those nationwide cuts caused OACAC Head Start of Southwest Missouri to eliminate 241 positions between students and staff.

"Everybody loses when we lost slots in early childhood," says program director Kimberly Shinn-Brown. Her organization serves 10 Missouri counties. "Almost every county had a loss."

She says if the kids aren't in Head Start classrooms, chances are they won't be getting ready for kindergarten.

"Being at an economic disadvantage limits the choices you have, so without Head Start slots families are left with very few other choices."

"It's really sad to think that other families can't have the experience I had," says Williams.

The program that helped Williams with her son will be out of reach for hundreds of Ozarks families this fall. And Shinn-Brown believes this is just the beginning.

"Sequestration is not a one-shot deal. We're not done and that's the scary thing."

The sequestration cuts will continue for the next ten years unless the federal government decides to alter the budget.
Page: [[$index + 1]]
comments powered by Disqus