Citing budget cuts caused by sequestration, a Head Start program near Fayetteville, Ark., has decided to take the dramatic step of closing its classrooms for the summer 13 days earlier than planned, the Huffington Post reports. The closure will help the Washington County Head Start program cut a required $150,000 from its operating budget by the end of September. But the ripple effects of taking 30,000 hours of educational and family development services and 10,000 meals from 381 families who rely on the program will result in a major economic blow for the neediest in the area, officials warn.
“This is going to severely impact their daily lives because for 13 days they won’t have a place to go,” said Brenda Zedlitz, Washington County Head Start’s program director. “We serve the working poor. Where are their children going to go when they are at work? Does this mean that they will leave their children with caregivers who might not be appropriate? Mostly, what does this mean to the well being of that child?”