No government agreement could mean cuts to preschool program
LITTLE ROCK (KATV) —
In a couple of weeks, on March 1, automatic spending cuts may hit most government agencies if Congress and President Obama don't make a deal before then.
One spot expected to take a hit concerns our kids' education.
Head Start provides services for low income families, but its well-known mission is prepping kids for kindergarten who may otherwise not have the means to attend.
Thursday the executive director of the National Head Start Association told me states like Arkansas, where education ranks low, could be hurt the most.
"This issue stole my Christmas, I have to tell you, because I had no time away from worrying about it," said Yasmina Vinci, the executive director.
Nearly two months later Vinci continues to worry, and fight for the program.
Across Arkansas 22 Head Start centers are active for more than 11,000 children of low income families. Budget cuts expect to translate to slashing enrollment as well.
"You know we have 63,000 to 70,000 families who are at risk of losing that, yes, if the sequestration goes on," she added.
Kids education is a big part of what could miss out the most amidst budget cuts, possibly placing Arkansas kids further behind in scoring. According to Vinci cuts will also hurt jobs.
"It puts you further behind and also just in terms of dollars and cents. In Arkansas you would lose, in an instance if five point one percent cuts take effect, states would lose $3.9 million that would pay salaries."
Vinci added the Women, Infants and Children Food Program could see its budget lowered.
She said this is the association's greatest challenge since being founded in 1965.