Funding for about 1,000 Indiana children in Head Start and Early Head Start could also be cut, according to the White House. Locally, the South Central Community Action Program, which operates local Head Start and Early Head Start programs, has already been operating on 19 percent less than it did last year, due to the expected sequestration.
Todd Lare, director of SCCAP, was hoping that money would be restored, but with Friday’s looming decision, he is not feeling hopeful.
“We started the year thinking the issues would all work out,” Lare said. “Now, it looks like that probably isn’t the case.”
“I think it’s easy to talk about closing a few classrooms or not providing transportation, but that’s a lifeline for many children, not only for learning, but having a routine and normalcy that builds toward their long-term school careers,” he said. “I think the impact on individuals is profound. There is no do-over.”
The timing of the cuts is also ironic, especially during a time when the importance of early education is being touted on national and statewide levels, Lare said.
“The national conversation is about extending opportunities for early childhood education,” he said. “It’s sad that (the cuts) come at time when we are actually talking about not scaling back programs.”
In addition to Head Start, SCCAP is also dealing with cuts to programs such as weatherization, community services block grant, Section 8 housing vouchers, individual development accounts and energy assistance.