Head Start may lose 70,000 slots nationwide to sequester - WDAM.COM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Head Start may lose 70,000 slots nationwide to sequester

Posted: Updated:
GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) -

The affects of the federal sequester has trickled down to affect some of Mississippi's low income children. Head Start officials said they're afraid they could have to turn some families away. 

The playground at the Gautier Head Start will be empty a lot more often in 2012. Instead of going to school 180 days, three and four-year-olds in the Jackson County Head Start program will only be at school learning for 167 days.

A message to parents was posted on the its website. "Due to the mandatory cuts from the Sequestration, Jackson County Head Start will be absorbing a five percent cut to the Head Start budget by reducing the number of operating days without cutting staff or children. To accomplish this, we will need to end school earlier than originally planned."

Other area Head Start programs are wondering what challenges they may have enrolling children for the next school year. John Guy is the director for Mississippi Action For Progress Region One which includes Hancock, Pearl River and Perry counties.

Guy said, "Thus far, the sequester has not impacted us at this particular point. But we do anticipate some potential cuts because the country is losing about 70,000 slots nationwide. How this is going to impact us as an agency, we don't know at this particular time."

Head Start officials said they also have no idea what formula the government when it starts reduce the slots or if the fact that Mississippi is one of the poorest states in the country will even be a consideration.

"What really hurts me is to see 70,000 children are going to be impacted," said Guy. "We provide free medical, dental, and mental health screenings. We close the gap between low income children and those with parents who are doing just fine."

Head Start officials in Harrison County said they don't need to make any last minute changes because they planned for a 160 day school year.

In anticipation of the five percent budget cut, officials say they have also reduced materials and field trips.

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.

  • LOCALLOCALMore>>

  • Petal hosts Pow Wow for first time

    Petal hosts Pow Wow for first time

    Saturday, April 19 2014 9:01 PM EDT2014-04-20 01:01:26 GMT
    Dozens of Petal residents and members of nearly one dozen Native-American tribes from six Southeastern states are engaging in an exchange of cultures for the first time in the Friendly City this weekend.More >>
    Members of the Choctaw, Creek, Cherokee and other tribes are taking part in the 12th annual Golden Eagle Pow Wow.More >>
  • Hub City hosts 67th annual Easter Egg Hunt

    Hub City hosts 67th annual Easter Egg Hunt

    Saturday, April 19 2014 8:57 PM EDT2014-04-20 00:57:35 GMT
    Hundreds of children and their parents got some early Easter presents at Dahmer Park Saturday morning during the 67th annual Community Easter Egg Hunt, sponsored by the City of Hattiesburg and the Lion'sMore >>
    The event also featured games for the children. Kids could also have photos made with the Easter Bunny.More >>
  • Sacrifice Fly by Matt Durst Leads Southern Miss Past Louisiana Tech 1-0

    Sacrifice Fly by Matt Durst Leads Southern Miss Past Louisiana Tech 1-0

    Saturday, April 19 2014 8:21 PM EDT2014-04-20 00:21:52 GMT
    Southern Miss Athletics Press ReleaseHATTIESBURG, Miss. – Matt Durst delivered a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth giving Southern Miss the only run they needed while Christian Talley and Ryan MiltonMore >>
    Matt Durst delivered a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth giving Southern Miss the only run they needed while Christian Talley and Ryan Milton combined to shutout Conference USA foe Louisiana Tech for the second-straight day in a 1-0 decision here Saturday afternoon at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field.More >>