$135,000 cut could leave dozens out of Head Start

2013-03-05T00:00:00Z 2013-04-03T21:30:06Z $135,000 cut could leave dozens out of Head StartBy PATRICK B. ANDERSON | panderson@lacrossetribune.com La Crosse Tribune

More than 30 children in the Coulee Region could lose access to early childhood education services because of federal budget cuts to Head Start.

The local arm of the program would lose about $135,000 low-income and special needs children unless Congress can come up with an alternative to the so-called sequestration cuts.

The sweeping series of automatic budget reductions were triggered Friday when lawmakers failed to reach a bipartisan deal.

For Head Start, it means cutting class time, dropping students from the program, or both, said Jim Vermeul, executive director of Head Start Child and Family Development Centers Inc.

“We can only serve so many kids,” Vermeul said. “The kids who would normally get into Head Start wouldn’t be able to start.”

Head Start serves families with children ages 3 to 5 years old, preparing them for K-12 classrooms. Statewide, about 900 children would lose access to Head Start and Early Head Start programs because of the cuts, according to the White House.

The local Head Start program shouldn’t see any real setbacks until June, the start of the next fiscal year, Vermeul said.

Lawmakers are optimistic they’ll reach a deal before then.

“We’re hoping that this all could go away,” Vermeul said. “That’s always a possibility.”

The local program works with area school districts to serve more than 400 children in La Crosse, Monroe, Vernon and Crawford counties.

Noel Tiarks’ son was in the program for two years and is excelling in kindergarten now that he has started classes in the Tomah School District. Head Start gave her son time to learn basic academics like math and reading, Tiarks said.

“It provides the first step of an education for these children,” Tiarks said.

Head Start also exposes children to school’s social atmosphere, said Tressa Poirier, whose son went to Head Start. Her daughter is still in the program.

Not all kindergarten students start school ready to interact with the teacher and a new group of peers, Poirier said.

“All of sudden, they’re thrown into this all-day program,” Poirier said. “And they’re terrified.”

Poirier’s not worried about losing Head Start for her own family. She is worried about other children missing out on the program, especially special-needs students.

“They cater to people who might not otherwise be able to get the help they need,” Poirier said.

Tiarks is chairwoman of the local program’s policy committee, a group of parents that meets each month to review rules and procedures. Regardless of how big the budget is, serving students will always be its top priority, Tiarks said.

“We’ll do the best we can to meet as many of the needs of as many children as we can,” Tiarks said.

Copyright 2015 La Crosse Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(31) Comments

  1. pheasant
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    pheasant - March 07, 2013 12:09 pm
    Opus- Curtail early post early retirement 55 health coverage. Your Head Start program will not miss a beat? LOL! The problem for you is that you are too transparent.
  2. Redwall
    Report Abuse
    Redwall - March 05, 2013 10:14 pm
    Ever since our Chicken Little president tried to convince everyone that sequester was going to cause the sky to fall, the rest of the public employee types are falling in line.

    An article that begins with "could" and "might" without offering any analysis is simply crappy journalism. I'm guessing the gentlemen from Head Start wrote this article and handed it to the Tribune "writer" to print.

    $135,000/30 students = $4,500 each. Consider giving the kids vouchers to go to a parochial preschool for about half that amount, for better results.
  3. Polarbear
    Report Abuse
    Polarbear - March 05, 2013 9:18 pm
    Read the name of the program, Head Start. Starting children learning earlier is awesome. I want my kids to get a Head Start.
  4. spirit3
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    spirit3 - March 05, 2013 5:52 pm
    Apparently you are VERY old school LAXTEA, years and years ago, you know the days when both parents did not have to work two or four jobs and your family was available to help with your younger pre-school children...kids got the help they needed. You have never heard : "It takes a community to raise a child" Early education help everyone because those children grow up and eventually contribute to the community, most getting caught in that same cycle of low-wage etc. I for one DO want the children of today to have it better in the future, and be better educated. They will hold the government accountable and be voting on services that will affect you. When you say the word "socialism" please educate yourself what "socialism" really is...yes we do have "socialism" in this country but it is "democratic socialism" and there is a huge difference.
  5. Tim Russell
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    Tim Russell - March 05, 2013 5:51 pm
    The Government's right to tax is included in the U; S. Constitution numbnuts. Try reading the actual document sometime.
  6. Seriously Now
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    Seriously Now - March 05, 2013 5:35 pm
    How about the ten year's worth of WAR money blown on those two miserable countries we have been building? They were flying payroll money over in CASH, as there was no banking system in Iraq. I'm sure that was all taken care of properly, right?
    Report Abuse
    LAXTEA - March 05, 2013 4:51 pm
    Historically there are programs that have always taken care of under-privileged children. They are called Charities!
    Report Abuse
    LAXTEA - March 05, 2013 4:48 pm
    Taxation = theft.

    Really? Is it that radical to think that people are responsible for their own children?

    What you are talking about is socialism. Try and put a pretty face on it, but that's what it is.
    Report Abuse
    LAXTEA - March 05, 2013 4:46 pm
    My father cut checks to Adams County, in the form of TAXES.
  10. superman
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    superman - March 05, 2013 3:30 pm
    Completely Agree!!

    No one would ever want EBKAC's like you even near their children!!

    Great Post!!
  11. Opus
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    Opus - March 05, 2013 2:03 pm
    After reading the executive summary, it appears the "times free press" really, really cherry-picked from the summary. Overall, Head Start is a successful program.
  12. Opus
    Report Abuse
    Opus - March 05, 2013 1:57 pm
    restofstory - here is one quote from the study you referenced : "In summary, there were initial positive impacts from having access to Head Start, but by the end of 3rd grade there were very few impacts found for either cohort in any of the four domains of cognitive, social-emotional, health and parenting practices. The few impacts that were found did not show a clear pattern of favorable or unfavorable impacts for children."

    What is bizarre is the "..but by the end of 3rd grade..." I need to read more of it.
  13. restofstory
    Report Abuse
    restofstory - March 05, 2013 1:42 pm
    Opus - Try this...

    or this

    Head Start is finally being studied. What do you think of the results? I'm interested, not being a jerk...
  14. CJ
    Report Abuse
    CJ - March 05, 2013 12:05 pm
    Maybe some of that "aid" money we donated/wasted to Syria and Egypt in recent weeks should have been spent in the USA................if some folks would get after waste like that we could take better care of kids in our own country................
  15. Seriously Now
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    Seriously Now - March 05, 2013 11:56 am
    Haven't got my calculator handy. What is $135,000 divided by 30?
  16. Opus
    Report Abuse
    Opus - March 05, 2013 11:43 am
    Present the studies, olderthandirt. You are wrong.
  17. Opus
    Report Abuse
    Opus - March 05, 2013 11:42 am
    Nice twist, LAXTEA. The voucher program misappropriates public tax dollars and gives it to private education. THAT is stealing!
  18. shameless
    Report Abuse
    shameless - March 05, 2013 11:28 am
    I assume that you have cut checks to the taxpayers in the Adams-Friendship district to cover your education. Head Start is a quality program that helps kids in need. I would rather have my money go to this program than many others.
  19. olderthandirt
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    olderthandirt - March 05, 2013 11:27 am
    Studies of the Head Start Program, have shown it does not work. Why are we as taxpayers, required to pour more money into another social program, that is a failure? Parents need to stop pawning off their children on others, at taxpayer expense, and be responsible. Just look at the Human Resources listed in the phone book today, compared to just 10 years ago? If all the feel good social entitlements were working, we as a society would not need more!
  20. CJ
    Report Abuse
    CJ - March 05, 2013 11:20 am
    Truth hurts some folks here Tea and they will never get it..................if families would simply take some control with something even as simple as supper together a few nights a week, we'd have a much better country in my opinion. If you are working with your kids at home why in the heck does a 3 year old need to go to school???
  21. alright then
    Report Abuse
    alright then - March 05, 2013 11:17 am
    Wow,...I'm sorry to here that you think people are stealing from you . I thought Head Start was a program for under privileged kids. I thought the purpose of the program was to give these kids a chance to be at the same level as privileged kids when they start kindergarten. I guess people from your planet don't feel that this is fair. I'm really hoping there aren't too many of you out there.
  22. Hockeydad
    Report Abuse
    Hockeydad - March 05, 2013 11:15 am
    So what's the total budget? Is the loss 1% or 90%? What's the number of instructors and cost of per instructor for wages and benefits? Could the same level of service be done for less? Lot of unanswered questions in the article.
  23. TeapartiesR4L'ilGirls
    Report Abuse
    TeapartiesR4L'ilGirls - March 05, 2013 10:19 am
    I shudder at the thought of the results of Laxtea "parenting."
  24. LAXTEA
    Report Abuse
    LAXTEA - March 05, 2013 9:55 am
    "Got mine"? WTF? I didn't demand that taxpayers around the country pay to have some minimum wage stranger take care of my children for me. Can you think for yourself at all? Raising your own children is what is best for them.
  25. LAXTEA
    Report Abuse
    LAXTEA - March 05, 2013 9:53 am
    Voucher programs are just re appropriating the taxpayer's own money to pay for an adequate education.

    These "federal funds" are just money looted from the citizenry.
  26. Cassandra
    Report Abuse
    Cassandra - March 05, 2013 9:13 am
    Yep. You got yours. Can't let anybody else try to grab a little security. What a jerk.
  27. Opus
    Report Abuse
    Opus - March 05, 2013 8:31 am
    HYPOCRITE! You support voucher programs but call Head Start stealing? HYPOCRITE!
  28. LAXTEA
    Report Abuse
    LAXTEA - March 05, 2013 8:00 am
    Wonderful! People can actually take care of their own toddlers rather than stealing from me to pay for it.

    Who really thinks minimum wage strangers are the best thing for your toddlers during their formative years?
  29. Mr Bluejeans
    Report Abuse
    Mr Bluejeans - March 05, 2013 6:41 am
    GOP to the poor: "sucks to be you. Our priority is helping the wealthy". Plutocracy is alive and well in God's Country.
  30. The Veteran
    Report Abuse
    The Veteran - March 05, 2013 6:39 am
    Nappy Tell me how they are operating now,the cuts only affect less than 3%of the proposed INCREASE for the rest of the fiscal year.If you or your family could not cut 3%of your future budget you need serious help.You blame it on the republicans,I blame it on the voters right and left for sending this bunch of cowards off to do what should be right for the nation.His aides say OBAMA THE CON MAN does not want to be able to pick and choose what should and what should not be cut.I think even you could figure out how to cut less than 3% from the proposed increase,after all you hold your self up as an expert on ever thing else (right).
  31. Napoleon
    Report Abuse
    Napoleon - March 05, 2013 2:12 am
    Chalk up another stupidity for the GOP!

    Bobby Jindal: GOP Should 'Stop Being The Stupid Party'

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