by Amanda Fanger, Reporter and Farmer
National mandated cuts to the South Dakota Head Start program funding will mean fewer students enrolled in that program. Exactly how many fewer in Day County is still unclear.
Across the state, it is estimated that 200 students will be cut from the program.
“I will not separate out Webster from our other areas at this time,” said Tom Hopper, program executive director for the Northeast South Dakota Head Start Program. “All I’ll say is this reduction will greatly affect the program and the areas we serve.”
The NESDHS program is comprised of 13 counties: Beadle, Brown, Campbell, Day, Edmunds, Faulk, Hand, Marshall, McPherson, Potter, Roberts, Spink and Walworth.
According to Hopper, NESDHS will have to cut approximately $132,000 from their current budget.
The South Dakota Head Start Association’s website reports that the NESDHS program is currently funded to service 392 children across its 13 counties. Ninety of those are enrolled in a home-based Head Start program.
“It will affect our staff and mean less children we can service,” Hopper said. “These cuts are going to have a serious impact on our program nationwide.”
Hopper says he has to submit a plan for the proposed cuts to the Head Start headquarters in Denver within a couple of weeks.
“We will continue to serve as best as we can,” he commented.
Statewide, the program had been allotted about $20.6 million for 2011. The Office of Head Start called for the nationwide cuts on March 1. These cuts are being mandated by sequestration, according to the national organization.