FEDERAL budget cuts mean a 5 percent cut in the Head Start program in the state. Advocates of the program say this will cost 80 jobs and space for as many as 461 children in West Virginia
Proponents framed the cut as a slash, but the 5 percent reduction is less than the 7.5 percent budget cut most state agencies made last year and may have to make again this year.
At a protest rally last week, organizers arranged empty chairs to represent the 461 fewer funding slots for children.
"It's a picture for us, but it's a reality for other people," Delegate Meshea Poore, D-Kanawha, said at the rally. "Our children do not have a party affiliation. They're children."
But problems also provide opportunities. West
Virginia may use this situation as a way to improve education for the Head Start pupils.
The cuts in the Head Start funding do not necessarily mean the end of schooling for children from impoverished backgrounds.
Head Start provides pre-schooling to children ages 3 to 5.