Head Start, the pre-K education program for low-income students, was forced to make massive service reductions due to the harsh across-the-board federal budget cuts known as the sequester.
The Washington Post spoke with an unnamed senior administration official, who said that more than 57,000 children were impacted by "reduction plans" submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services by Head Start officials, who were forced to make the cuts based on a 5.27 percent reduction in the program's $8 billion in federal funding.
The Post reports:
Some Head Start centers focused on cutting administrative and support services, such as transportation. Others chose to shorten the school year or the school day. The latest figures show that 18,000 program hours will be cut next year by centers that will start later in the day or end earlier.
Most programs did completely cut services to some children. The sequester “also impacted how many staff kept their jobs, how many dental screenings and health screenings are available and what happens to those families as we go into a new school year,” the official said.
As The Huffington Post explains, in addition to offering pre-school education to lower-income students, Head Start also provides " two hot meals a day, transportation to and from school and basic medical care."