Sequestration could cut Head Start in Hampton Roads

Sequestration will impact more than just military budgets in Hampton Roads.

Under sequestration, funding for Head Start and Early Head Start programs in Newport News, Hampton, Chesapeake, Portsmouth and Norfolk would be slashed by about 10 percent.

That translates to 141 students and 30 employees according to director Nancy Null.

“Each of those numbers is a child and a family and the impact would be great,” Null explained. “Each of our staff are hard workers and to determine who gets cut is virtually an impossible task that we hope we don’t have to make.”

Null says the possible cuts have been on her radar since last year, but “we thought that things would not come to this.”

With just 4 days to go until sequestration, Null says she hopes lawmakers understand the impact it is already having.

“Extremely frustrating,” Null explained. “We need to be moving forward day by day doing our job and of course, this impacts what we’re thinking and how we are moving forward.”

Null says it could be even worse if sequestration does kick in and the cuts are made to Head Start.

“Families may have to lose their jobs because their child isn’t in Head Start,” Null stated. “The impact is going to be a lot greater than us losing 141 children and 30 staff – it’s going to be community wide.”

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