$300,000 cut from Head Start in Mid-Missouri

Federal budget cuts will result in 30 fewer training slots for the next Head Start and Early Head Start training programs this year in Cole County.

A total of 105 fewer youngsters will be able to participate in Head Start and Early Head Start training this year in Central Missouri.

Beth Vossler of Columbia, director of Head Start operations for Central Missouri Community Action, said because of federal budget cuts, $300,390 must be cut from the $5.7 million in federal funds used to operate the Head Start and the Early Head Start Infant and Toddlers training programs for preschoolers in Central Missouri.

To deal with the 5.27 percent reduction in federal funding for Head Start programs, the board of directors of Central Missouri Community Action (CMCA), which administers the

$5.7 million Head Start program in Mid-Missouri, has voted to reorganize the agency’s Head Start program.

The changes will mean 105 fewer preschool children will be enrolled from the Head Start program in the eight-county area served by the agency.

To achieve the reduction of 105 training slots for children, there will be 45 fewer slots in Boone County, 30 fewer in Cole County, 16 fewer in Audrain County, 10 fewer in Howard County, three fewer in Moniteau County and one fewer in Callaway County.

Cooper and Osage counties will have no training slots removed.

In addition to serving 105 fewer children, the CMCA agency that administers federal aid programs also plans to cut 19 full- and part-time Head Start and Early Head Start jobs in the eight-county region served by the agency.

Vossler said the 19 Head Start and Early Head Start job cuts in the region will come from the counties of Boone, Cole, Audrain, Howard and Osage. She said there will be no Head Start job cuts in Callaway, Moniteau and Cooper counties at this time.

During the past five years, the Early Head Start program for infants and toddlers was started in Callaway County.

There are currently 36 training slots for Head Start children in Callaway County. Under the changes, that number will be reduced to 35, but it does not affect any youngsters now enrolled, only future students, Vossler said. She said in Callaway County there are 16 training slots available for the Early Head Start for infants and toddlers program and all will remain in the current plan.

Callaway County currently has five Head Start classroom staff, four Early Head Start infant-toddler classroom staff, a cook and a center manager.

Darin Preis, CMCA executive director, said the reduction in children served by Head Start will hit larger counties with more service options than rural counties in the region.

Preis said the reductions in the Head Start program are needed to deal with shrinking federal, state and local resources.

The current federal sequester cuts authorized under the Budget Control Act of 2011 will cause a $300,390 reduction in the $5.7 million Head Start and Early Head Start federal money that CMCA administers in Central Missouri.

Preis said the federal cuts come at a time when the economy has not recovered. “Less services to our youngsters,” Preis said, “and more job losses are unfortunate.”

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