Arizona Educators Brace For Cuts In Federal Head Start Funds

August 08, 2013

Arizona educators who depend on federal Head Start funds for low-income preschool students are bracing for a cash crunch. Some schools are turning kids away and sending layoff notices to teachers as Congress cuts spending.

Most of the state’s schools and charities offering Head Start programs for infants through 5-year-olds will see a 6 percent cut in federal funds in the new school year.

Larry Campbell is Director of Catholic Charities West Side Head Start based in Surprise. He said Congress’ sequestration measures mean his agency will be forced to reduce enrollment by 128 students. 

“At Head Start we are serving at-risk families living at poverty level or below. So, these are families that really need the program, they’re already behind, there’s already a large learning gap and the longer that gap goes without intervention the harder it is to catch up,” Campbell said.

He said he also has to eliminate ten teaching positions. Campbell said if the sequester continues to cut Head Start funds at the same pace over the next decade, his agency will no longer be able to provide students the specialized learning services they’ll need to enter kindergarten. 

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