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Posted: 12:53 p.m. Thursday, July 25, 2013
By Allison Latos
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
Spending cuts in Washington will hit Charlotte kids. Mecklenburg County's Head Start program will lose more than $316,000 in September. Anyea DeLaine told Eyewitness News the program really helped her 5-year-old son, Jokel, prepare for kindergarten. "He was very shy and when he came here he opened up more," said DeLaine. Eyewitness News learned the number of seats for low-income families is shrinking because the federal sequester. "The impact to fragile communities and the children we serve is a tough blow," said Head Start Director, Jared Keaton. Keaton said the funding cuts will come over just 4 months. That's more than 5 percent of the budget. In the fall, six of the county's 49 classrooms will close and 83 seats for students will disappear. Those 3- to 5-year-olds will be added to the wait list of more than 500 families already hoping for a spot. "That is not an easy conversation to have with our parents who work very hard to give their children a leg up," said Keaton. "The cuts that they're making are the ones that are really affecting the people," said DeLaine. "The cuts here are really impacting the children in the long run." All six classrooms that will close are at Starmount Pre-K off South Boulevard. The director said Head Start spots are not given to the first children signed up. The program is based on the federal poverty level, so kids with the most need will be accepted.
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