Marben said MVAC still plans to recruit families for the Head Start program year-round because kids come and go and spaces open up. She encourages families who meet the income guidelines for the program to get on the waiting list.
Marben said she analyzed the budget and looked at cuts in areas such as supplies, which make up 8 percent of the total budget.
“But in order for it to be impactful … it really had to unfortunately affect kids and families and the programs,” she said.
Marben said the program certainly accepts donations, however the focus needs to be on long-term, consistent funding.
Nationwide, about 1,600 grantees, which include nonprofits and local government agencies, receive federal Head Start funding.
The Obama administration had previously estimated that slots for up to 70,000 children would be eliminated as a result of the sequester. According to the latest figures, slots for 51,000 preschoolers were eliminated along with child care slots for 6,000 babies. Children will lose 1.3 million days of service at Head Start centers and more than 18,000 employees will be laid off or see their pay reduced.
The cuts come at a time when President Barack Obama and many states such as Minnesota — often with bipartisan support — have declared early childhood learning a priority. Obama is pushing a proposal to provide high-quality preschool to all low- and moderate-income 4-year-olds and many states have increased funding for prekindergarten and other early childhood initiatives.
This article contains information from The Associated Press.