The director of the Head Start Program in St. Charles Parish will be forced to make cuts in staff and materials beginning next school year.
The cuts are the result of budget cuts approved by Congress during the last session.
While the budget cut for Head Start may seem small at only 1 percent, that percentage is high enough to affect jobs and cut needed materials for the local program.
“Without support from St. Charles Parish Public Schools for our buildings and maintenance, there would not be a Head Start Program in St. Charles,” said Mildred Butler, director of St. Charles Head Start Program.
“I will be forced to cut staff for next school year which is not good news for the employees of the Head Start Program. We will find out exactly how much will be cut in June,” said the director. “As part of the school district, we are not allowed to solicit funds from the community, therefore we must rely solely on our partnership with the school system and federal funds.”
The Head Start Program supports children’s optimal physical, health, intellectual and social-emotional development. It strengthens the role of families as primary caregivers of their children through education and support of parents and extended family members.
Created in 1965, Head Start is the most successful, longest-running, national school readiness program in the United States. It provides comprehensive education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low-income children and their families. More than 25 million pre-school aged children have benefited from Head Start.
The 1 percent federal budget cut is not life-threatening to the program, but further budget cuts could foretell the future of the program. With budget cuts seemingly a trend, only time will tell just how the Head Start Program will fare in the years to come.