Sequestration Pushes Head Start Families To The Precipice (UPDATE)

7/9/2013

Rhonda Reynolds was paying bills in downtown Pratt, Kan., on a hot and sunny mid-June afternoon when the second call came from her daughter’s Head Start teachers.

Reynolds, 48 years old with shoulder-length blonde hair and a reassuring smile, jumped into her Ford Taurus and drove several miles home. It was 2:30 p.m. Just one hour earlier, those teachers, April and Misty, had told her they wanted to chat. Now they had called back, asking to meet in person and soon.

Reynolds pulled up to her one-story home. Minutes later, April and Misty arrived. They declined a drink of water. April went to use the bathroom while Misty took a seat on one of the two living room couches. Reynolds nervously sat on the other.

“What’s going on?” she asked. “Is it bad?”

“They did away with the Head Start program,” Misty replied, her head bent low.

April came out of the bathroom and sat next to Misty. For the next 20 minutes, the three of them cried.

In all, 14 children in Pratt, a town with a population just under 7,000, were dropped from Head Start, the federally funded education program for lower-income families. Reynolds’ 4-year-old daughter, Bella, who had learned numbers and words, manners and social skills during her time in the program this past year, was among them — another casualty of the budget cuts brought about by sequestration.

Source: The Huffington Post

Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/09/sequestration-head-start_n_3562607.html

The Balancing Act: Reducing Costs While Maintaining Quality – Head Start

4/2013

This webinar presents a process to assist grantees in thinking through and communicating about budget reductions. The process supports grantees in making decisions focused on their program and community. It also emphasizes the use of data to make budget decisions. Viewers are encouraged to forecast and evaluate consequences of different options.

Source: Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center

Available at: http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/operations/fiscal/financial-mgmt/budgets/ReducingCostsWh.htm

Head Start Sequestration Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – Head Start

  • What fiscal year does the sequestration affect?
  • As a grantee, how do I know what fiscal year (FY) funds I am currently operating?
  • What is the exact amount of the sequester reduction?
  • What flexibility does the Office of Head Start have in making reductions?
  • What flexibilities do programs have to absorb the sequester reduction?
  • Can programs reduce enrollment?
  • If we have Head Start and Early Head Start, do we have to take equal cuts across both programs?
  • Will the reduction be taken on the extensions through June 30, 2013 for current grantees in competition through Designation Renewal System (DRS)?
  • Is this a temporary cut?
  • What guidance can we expect from our Regional Offices and what will be required of us moving forward?
  • Will sequestration delay or stop the Designation Renewal System (DRS)?
  • Will sequestration stop monitoring?
  • Will it be allowable for grantees to combine positions at the administrative level to absorb the cuts?
  • If grantees have to make quick changes in their programs to implement the reduced funding level, and we can only do it by making program cuts, will we have some relief on the allowable administrative rate requirement (15 percent)?
  • Is it allowable to shorten the number of weeks per year for home-based programs this program year?
  • Are there special issues full-year programs need to consider?
  • Can grantees use training and technical assistance (T/TA) funding for operations?

Source: Early Childhood Knowledge and Learning Center

Available at: http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/operations/mgmt-admin/planning/grant/faq.html