Sequester closes HACAP classroom
Washington County’s Head Start program is dealing with budget cuts due to the federal government’s budget sequester.
The Head Start program in Washington County is subsidized through the Hawkeye Area Community Action Program (HACAP). HACAP found out in January that $294, 959 was being cut from its budget.
“Our fiscal year began in January,” said HACAP Head Start director Christi Regan, “and as a result of this budget cut, the WACO classroom is being closed.”
WACO’s Head Start classroom only had eight slots for children. In the past there were enrollment issues with that Head Start site, so HACAP had to decide what was fiscally responsible, Regan said.
Not only is the classroom being closed, but also there were two staff member positions cut.
“A teacher has been laid off and a staff support member,” Regan said.
With the WACO Head Start classroom being closed, this will bring Head Start enrollment in Washington County down from 44 children to 36 in August. Throughout the whole HACAP district, Head Start enrollment will go from 760 children to 700, Regan said.
Another thing HACAP Head Start is trying to work on is contracts with various public health departments where Head Start classrooms are.
“We’re trying to get a 5 percent reduction in our contract with the Washington County Public Health Department,” Regan said. “They offer a variety of health services to our families, such as going over immunizations needed for school.”
There is one thing Regan would like to tell her Head Start families.
“We are not going anywhere,” she said. “We are trying to make sure we can remain fiscally safe and as strong as possible.”
RenElla Crawford, director of the Washington County Head Start site, could not be reached for comment.