'Sequester' cuts force students out of Head Start program

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by WHITNEY WARD & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on March 1, 2013 at 6:26 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 1 at 6:42 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Spokane's Head Start Program is expected to be cut drastically due to the sequester cuts that would take place at the end of March.

Families in the neediest neighborhoods in the Spokane area may be hit the hardest. Sequester cuts would eliminate $400,000 from the local operating budget.

This would mean nearly 50 families could be forced out of the Head Start program.  The Director of Program Services, David Colburn, says that's just the beginning.

"We'll also lose money for the child care food program. And there may be dollars lost from our partnership with the Spokane School District for serving kids with disabilities," said Colburn.

The trickle down effect could also cost Head Start workers their jobs. Student's families would also lose access to other resources and could be forced to cut back wherever necessary.

Jen Ross is a parent who has seen Head Start help her son and says that losing eve one spot in the program is too many. 

Ross say, "It's inexcusable that we've let this happen."

Spokane Head Start currently serves 900 families and there are a thousand more on the waiting list. Cutting kids already in the program is considered a last resort but leaders say it's simply unavoidable.

The Director of Program Services says he wouldn't be surprised if by the next month they have to contact families to let them know the resources are no longer available.

 

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