By Rick Dandes
The Daily Item
MIDDLEBURG — The executive director of the Union, Snyder, Mifflin Head Start program said Thursday that due to the sequester’s mandated cuts, the Middleburg building that served 40 families would have to close and the children transferred to centers in Selinsgrove and Mifflinburg.
Head Start and Early Head Start are child development programs for kids up to 5 years old from low-income families. Each Head Start program has a locally designed program model based on the needs of the communities being served.
“Let me reassure parents that their children will be sent to the school closest to where they live,” said Jane Campbell, executive director. They also will be riding to school in Head Start buses from pre-determined stops.
“Years ago, Head Start provided door-to-door busing,” Campbell said. Children would be picked up at their homes, taken to school and then returned home. Budgetary restraints ended that program.
“So what we do now is work out with parents where they can meet our bus,” she said. “This is the best way we know to help out our rural families.”
Susan Blake, director of the Danville Head Start program, noted that its bylaws do not mandate that transportation to school be provided.
“It’s different for every program in different locations,” she said. “Certainly, for children who live in the more remote areas in the region we serve, we will provide transportation. But that’s not the case for everyone here.”
Overall, there are 360 children in the SUM Head Start program and 130 in the Early Head Start program.
The Danville Head Start program will have an enrollment of 88 children when the 2013-14 school year begins in September, six fewer than this school year. The cut in enrollment is due to the sequester, Blake said.