GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - The sequester is taking a chunk out of Head Start for Kent County.
Federal budget cuts went into effect March 1. Parents were sent notices from Head Start for Kent County, saying the program would be ending early because of the sequester.
A board member confirmed the changes to 24 Hour News 8, blaming them on a 5% cut in federal money. The board member says special events for the summer, including enrichment programs, have been cancelled. Also, teaching services will end two weeks early on May 1.
Head Start provides services to thousands of low-income families. A board member says immediate impact will be minimal, but it's unknown how less funding will affect the 2013-2014 school year.
Executive Director Mary Hockwalt sent 24 Hour News 8 a copy of the letter that went out to parents:
"On March 1, 2013, a federal budget reduction went into effect. As a federally-funded Head Start grantee, Head Start for Kent County (HS4KC) now needs to reduce our 2013 budget by about 5%, approximately $600,000.
Our staff, as always, continues to focus on providing quality services to your child and family and is to be commended.
While able to provide information today, there are some questions still remaining. It is expected that over the next few months the remainder of the plan will be finalized.
The current plan is still tentative because final approvals are required (Office of Head Start, Board of Directors, and Parent Policy Council). However, knowing staff and parents need to have time to prepare, we are letting you know now. If the plan would not be approved or guidance from the Office of Head Start changes, we will change the plan as needed.
Listed below are the expected changes for the 2012-13 school year.
2012-13 Program Year:
* Last day of class for Head Start students at all locations is May 1,2013
* No Head Start parent meetings in April and May
* No changes to Early Head Start program year or enrollments
* Stop enrolling Head Start children for remainder of 2012-13 program year
* No family activity meeting night in May for Family Literacy Program collaboration program
* Parent Policy Council will continue to meet each month
Recruitment and enrollment for the 2013-14 program year has begun and will continue with the start date scheduled for Monday, September 9, 2013.
This time is understandably difficult and unusual. As decisions are finalized with more specific information, and if there are any changes, we will keep you notified."
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