Potential cuts to Head Start program - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Potential cuts to Head Start program

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CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) -

Close to 70,000 students across the country will be affected by possible cuts to the Head Start program.

According to Calcasieu Parish School Superintendent Wayne Savoy, the Head Start program has been very beneficial for our area by getting more children ready for kindergarten and beyond.

The possible cuts will not help improve education, according to Savoy.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently sent a letter to all Head Start agencies alerting them of a possible sequestration order from Washington resulting in reduction to the Head Start programs by 5 percent.

"This whole business just kind of bothers me," Savoy said. 

In Calcasieu Parish, the Head Start program prepared students for kindergarten and has proven to be one of the best educational resources in the area for children, according to Savoy.

He said the 5 percent reduction to the program will have a negative impact locally, state-wide and nationally.

"It's going to boil down to enrollment issues, reduction of services, but the first priority for us is to going to be to maintain a high quality of service provided to the children and families and to ensure, of course, their health and safety," Savoy said.

Savoy said it's disappointing, especially when the program is working and results are noticeable.

"I just wish that when you take a look at how it's going to impact children that a real common sense approach would take place because if you're trying to improve something, why eliminate it?" he said.

It's a contradiction, he said, especially with all the school system changes state-wide and nationwide to improve education.

"And you hear all the time children need to be kindergarten ready. Well, you can't get children kindergarten ready unless you have programs to get them ready for kindergarten," Savoy said.

Knowing the earlier students can get a head start in their educational journey, the better opportunities they will have to be successful, he said.

Savoy said currently the Head Start program in Calcasieu has a waiting list of close to 160 students hoping to get in to receive an early start to their education.

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