• Budget cuts to impact thousands of Head Start students

    By: Rachel Stockman


    ATLANTA - Leaders from a program to help needy children are trying to figure out how to implement mandatory federal sequestration budget cuts.

    Thousands of children who participate in the Georgia Head Start program will be affected, according to the White House.

    Parents are hoping that political leaders reconsider their decision.

    "I would just ask them to think about what it would do for some of us. We appreciate this program so much," said Dominique Phillips, whose son attends a program in south Fulton County.

    Phillips, a single mother, said she doesn't know how she would manage without the kindness and commitment of the teachers at the program.

    The nationwide Head Start organization, which has 31 programs in Georgia, is facing 5 percent mandatory cuts because of the federal sequestration. The White House estimates that 2,400 fewer children from Georgia will be served in the Head Start program. Forecasters also estimate that about 518 Head Start jobs will be lost.

    "We are actually waiting on what the final results are going to be and how it is going to affect us and our children here in the community," explained Linda Rhea, who is a center director at Sheltering Arms in south Fulton County. Her facility receives substantial funding from Head Start.

    Program directors throughout the state are trying to figure out how to implement these cuts, which were supposed to be a worst-case scenario.

    "Our Head Start programs are committed to making sure our children are the ones that are least impacted," said Juanita Yancey, executive director of the Georgia Head Start Association.

    "Without this program, I don't see myself being where I am. It means quite a bit, " said Lamarr Woods, who has a child in Head Start.

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