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Local Head Start Program Responds to Budget Cuts

Head Start of Washington County put together a visual presentation this week to illustrate their losses.

Hagerstown, Md. - A local early education program is feeling the destructive effects of federal government sequestration cuts. The loss in funding totals $230,275.

"I’ve been here 37 years and this is the most significant cut that we've ever experienced unfortunately," said Paul Pittman, director of Head Start of Washington County.

Head Start of Washington County put together a visual presentation this week to illustrate their losses.

The presentation included the display of 33 empty chairs and cribs representing the number of students who were cut from head start programs in Washington County this year.

Teachers say the consequences of being left out will be far-reaching.

"School readiness skills, the meals, the physical checkups that we do with them right now,” said Head Start teacher John Williams. “Also, the opportunity to make sure all their shots are up to date, dental care...It's going to be pretty devastating."

But it is not only the children who will be affected. Head Start of Washington County also had to let go of eleven full-time employees.

So what does Head Start want to say to the congressmen and women who brought on sequestration by failing to reach a budget agreement earlier this year?

“I'd say, get your act together,” said Pittman.

“The cuts are really bad timing,” said Williams. “They made a bad situation worse.”

They also want people to know that because Head Start is need-based, the kids who are left out will not be able to receive the free early education and social benefits they really need.

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