Sequester drops 200 kids from Head Start program

Published: Mar. 28, 2013 at 11:42 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Federal funding cuts are having an impact on the education of local children. On Thursday, the Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency (CAA) announced cuts to the Head Start program brought on by the sequester.

Nearly 200 kids will be dropped from Head Start, as many as 20 teachers will lose their jobs, and a total of 10 classrooms will be affected.

With news of the sequester's impact, a rally was held at CAA on Thursday. Parents plead their case to keep the Head Start program intact.

"Please, please, please keep the Head Start program in place," begged Howard Wolfe.

Parents, including Howard and Anita Wolfe, say these cuts will force them and many other parents to make some tough decisions.

"If you take away from our kids, then we have to decide which kid gets educated. We don't think that's fair," said Anita Wolfe.

The sequester means a loss of about $1 million to Head Start's current budget. Cuts include a reduction in transportation routes that are expected to affect about 80 families.

"I have a 4-year-old to provide for, and this program has helped me do that and helped me continue my education," said Sharon Ford.

In our commitment to balanced news, FOX19 spoke with Hamilton County GOP chair Alex Triantafilou. He says he's all for supporting early childhood education, but the sequester is just a small step to reform the country's trillion dollar deficit.

"We need to begin to make serious cuts, and if every group clamours about their cut being the most painful, we never get to cuts," said Triantafilou.

Gwen Robinson says she understands cuts need to be made to our federal budget, but she wants other options to be explored.

"Yes, they have a responsibility, but they have a responsibility to secure our future," argued Robinson.

Members from Thursday's meeting say they aren't sure when the cuts will be implemented into the Head Start program, but at the latest, they will need to have them ready by the end of this program year, October 2013.

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