August 25, 2009

Head Start classes KO'd by state budget impasse

Two Head Start classes slated to get underway Monday -- half the classes in the city -- are getting shut down because the state budget impasse blocked their funding.
Bristol Community Organization director Tom Morrow said Tuesday that two Head Start classes paid for with federal cash will open as planned.
Morrow said that BCO, a nonprofit community service organization, will have to lay off three Head Start staffers and reduce the hours of three others in order to cope with the funding shortage.
Families will learn today whether their children will land in one of the classrooms that stay open or if they’re going to come up short.
Morrow said that parents who have counted on the program could face tough choices.
Because “they count on their kids being in this program for six hours a day,” Morrow said, some parents may have to give up jobs or take other extraordinary measures to cope with the disruption.
“It’s kind of a rippling effect,” Morrow said.
Morrow said that all of the families whose children are enrolled in Head Start were told at the end of July that they might have to pare the enrollment. That’s because federal law requires they get at least 30-day notice before a child is dropped.
Trying to cope with an $8 billion deficit while locked in a stalemate with the legislature over the budget, Gov. Jodi Rell zeroed out the state funding for Bristol’s Head Start. It could be restored as part of a budget deal.
Morrow said that in July, BCO opted to fund its programs on the assumption that a deal would be struck.
But it’s losing $50,000 a month, he said, while the state dithers. That can’t go on, he said, so the organization had to take action.
In addition to slicing the Head Start classes, BCO is also requiring all of its administrative staff take five furlough days before the end of the fiscal year in June.

Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
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Anonymous said...

Gov. Rell is not getting my vote. Did you see the article in Sundays Courant talking about all the cuts she proposed to funding for programs that assist the poor and needy? She wants to cut dental and vision for those on medicaid. Cut some funding to nursing homes. Cut some funding to life star. Make medicaid folks start paying copays for medical services. Stricter medical criteria in order for surgeries to be approved under medicaid. Increase premiums for kids on Husky B plan. Cut funding that provides these folks with rides to their doctor visits....and now it looks like cut the headstart funding to? Where does it end??? When will the rich be taxed more instead of taking from the poor and needy? Increase the tax on the rich (those that moke $250k+) by 1% and increase the sales tax by .5%... the problem would be solved.

Hopefullly Hamzy, Nicastro and our other local state Reps will do the right thing and not vote for such cuts! If they do, they can be sure not to be re-elected next year...plain and simple.
We elected them to represent US and I have confidence they will do so. The people of CT have had enough. STOP TAKING FROM THE POOR AND MIDDLECLASS!!! Plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

This is the cold reality that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Someone has to pay for all that free/subsided stuff.

Of course the problem is solved. It costs you nothing and you get all the goodies.

Cuts in funding to headstart where do it end? How about expanding state programs when does that end?

Special ed funding; when is enough enough? 3 times that of a normal student five times? For some of most handicapped special ed amounts to no more than high priced day care. For students that will learn nothing and be no more educated when they're eighteen as when they were eight. It's terrible to say but in some cases true. Are you willing to cut funding to these students to save headstart?

Anonymous said...

Headstart is unnecessary. That's why God invented parents and grandparents. I consider myself middle class and I've never had vision coverage. Cut it. Those rich people are moving out, and then who will pay for all the freebies? Leave them alone. Rides to doctor visits? No one drives me, I do it myself. Try it.

The needy should put more effort into self-sufficiency.

Anonymous said...

Go Rell! She's trying to trim the fat...about time!

Odin said...

Head Start is a great-sounding program, but like D.A.R.E. it's "feel good" only. In both cases, the data shows that the kids who supposedly benefited from it are the kids who would have done well anyway. There are plenty of heart-warming anecdotes about Head Start kids who rose above their environment, but those kids would have succeeded anyway because of: (a) their parents, and (b) their character.

Anonymous said...

Odin and Anonymous said,

Head Start is not a "feel good" program, and t is far from unnecessary. These children in the program experience success in life due to education and resources provided to parents, advocacy skills parents are provided with, etc. These are the skills that help to assist parents to become successful, and rise about their current situation, and possibly their upbringing.

As for the children in the program, character is not something you are born with,it is something learned. Character is defined as being moral or ethical strength. Integrity, on the other hand, is knowing what is right, and then doing it. These are the things taught to both children and parents at Head Start.

This program provides a strong curriulum to children and is a school, not a "srop off day care service". All teachers are required to hold a minimum of a Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education, or an Associates in the same field (and must be working towards a Bachelors Degree). The children in this program receive comprehensive services and support in the areas of Education, Social & Emotional Development, Nutrition and Health, and many more.

It appears the only people involved in this story lacing "character" and making "unecessary" assumptions, are the people who post ignorant statements about which they know nothing about.