Sequestration Might Cause Cuts to Bibb, Monroe Head Start Program

9:09 AM, Feb 26, 2013   |    comments
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Congress has four days left to act on sequestration, a string of budget cuts that could bring significant changes for military bases, and the communities depending on them for jobs and business.

But as we've learned, the impact isn't confined to the area beyond base gates.

Some four year olds will be feeling the effects of sequestration.

Head Start might be facing a 10 percent budget cut if Congress doesn't act by March 1st.

That means 100 little learners already attending the program will also be cut and it doesn't stop there.

"We do transport 90 percent of our children, so we're looking at about 20 people who will be unemployed," says Head Start and Early Head Start director Pamela Brown.

Brown expects that $700,000 will be slashed from their $7 million budget. She says the program, serving low-income families in Monroe and Bibb counties, is already under funded.

"We provide training services, support services, referral services, health services, social services, dental services, mental health services," she says.

The head start program serves 856 families across Bibb and Monroe, but it's not enough.

"You're still looking at a waiting list of over three to four hundred children," Brown says.

If sequestration takes effect March 1st, Brown is prepared.

"To us it is very real. It is so real that we are already putting a plan together, how we will handle these issues and what we will do," she says.

That means not filling position vacancies and seats in the classroom and developing a fair criteria to slim down staff.

Brown says Head Start parents started a petition last week to send to congress to stop sequestration. They plan to send it Tuesday.

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