Head Start Programs Adjusting to Sequestration Cuts - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Head Start Programs Adjusting to Sequestration Cuts

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Federal spending cuts are hitting Head Start programs across the country, and here in northern Nevada. There are nine Head Start locations that serve families of preschoolers in Reno, Sparks and outlying areas. Officials with the Community Services Agency in Reno say they've managed to work around most of the federal budget cuts, without layoffs or furloughs.

Executive Director of Community Services, Cloyd Phillips, said sequestration has forced his agency to make some cuts. "Based on the regional office, we had to adjust and make a cut-- because of the funding allocation that comes in which would be about 35 kids in our program. That means 35 kids who would have been enrolled this fall are now on a waiting list. Phillips believes those children will eventually be placed in the program as other families move.

Head Start teacher Kimber Nutter is getting her classroom ready for next Monday when the kids come back to school. "We're teaching them social and emotional skills they need for school; how to get along with others, how to follow the rules, how to take care of themselves," she said. 

Laura Hernandez was signing up four-year-old son Seth at the Head Start program on Sutro Street in Reno. She says the program is an investment in his future. "It's a good way for him to develop into a good, well-rounded person. I know he's going to be learning and playing with other kids," said Hernandez. 

Head Start provides early childhood education for lower income families - and if the federal sequester continues into next year, they could suffer too. "If they were to cut this program, there would be so many families with nowhere to go because they can't afford to pay for daycare or preschool," said Nutter. 

Proponents of Head Start say kids who go through the program perform better in school later on, while critics say the benefits don't really last past third grade. Here in Washoe County, Head Start is working with the Washoe County School District so that the preschool program aligns with the new "Common Core Curriculum" that is being taught in the district.

Written by Jennifer Burton

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