On Monday, I posted some information about possible local cuts to Head Start that came from the Washington Association of Head Start and the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Programs.
Included in that blog was the possibility that if the automatic cuts known as the sequester go through on March 1, that could cause the Opportunity Council to cut about 18 slots from its Head Start program.
Whatcom County Councilman Ken Mann, who has a blog on The Herald’s website, posted a message from Opportunity Council executive director Dave Finet calling those numbers inaccurate. Finet said the nonprofit will “look at a number of other options before cutting slots for children.” He said that he has not received any guidance from Head Start about how the reduction would be administered or a time frame.
The local numbers that I posted came from the Washington Association of Head Start and the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Programs, a statewide organization composed of representatives from Head Start, Early Head Start, Migrant Head Start, Native American Head Start and the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program.
Here is Finet’s full message, as posted on Mann’s blog:
I just wanted to let you all know the Herald Blog this morning that states 18 children would be cut from Opportunity Council’s Head Start program as a result of sequestration is misleading.
If sequestration does occur it would be about a 5.3% reduction in funding. At this time we have not received any guidance from Head Start or any of our other federal funding sources regarding how this reduction would be administered and the timeframe.
Last night I accompanied David Webster and ELAFS staff to the Head Start/Early Head Start/ECEAP policy council meeting where we encaged in a good discussion with parent representatives regarding options when and if there is sequestration and our funding is reduced. A reduction in funding does not necessarily mean we would be reducing the number of children served, we would look at a number of other options before cutting slots for children.
David has developed a thoughtful process that will be discussed by agency management, our funders, our Board of Directors, Early Learning Committee and Policy Council.
As things develop we will keep you posted. There will probably be a number of other inaccuracies in the news that sensationalize or misrepresent how we might handle reductions in funding here at the agency. If you have questions please feel free to direct them to me or one of our department directors to get the real scoop.
As with any reduction in funding there are tough choices but we don’t have enough information yet to make any firm decisions. We are used to reductions in funding, we are a resilient bunch and you can rest assured we will get through this with minimum impact to the people we serve and our employees.
Thanks and have a good day.