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.
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