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County students safe from Head Start cuts

Posted: Monday, Aug 19th, 2013

WATSONVILLE — Head Start, which was created 48 years ago to give educational services to young, low-income children, has cut about 57,000 children from its program across the U.S. due to a federal budget reduction plan known as the sequester.

Approximately 6,000 fewer children, meanwhile, will be enrolled in Early Head Start.

The sequestration will also mean that 18,000 Head Start employees will be laid off or have their pay cut, and that centers will reduce the number of service days.

But as thousands of children lose their Head Start services, including 5,611 in California, the 900 who are served in Santa Cruz County will still have a place thanks to staff members who agreed to take on the financial burden rather than let it fall on the shoulders of the children.

Staff agreed to a 5 percent reduction, meaning furlough days through October and fewer teaching days for teachers.

“We had the freedom to decide how we absorb the cuts, and we made the decision to limit the impact of the cuts to the kids,” said Cynthia Sloane, who runs the Head Start program for Santa Cruz County Community Counseling Center.

Head Start organizers also eliminated the transportation program and laid off three bus drivers.

For the complete article see the 08-20-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 08-20-2013 paper.

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