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WCAX: Welch highlights proposed Head Start budget cuts

April 10, 2017
In The News

BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Head Start is meant to help low income kids get ready for school, and it is in every county of Vermont.

There is concern that the program may face cuts in President Trump's proposed budget. The President's budget cuts Health and Human Services spending by 16-percent. That's where the federal money supporting Head Start comes from.

Congressman Peter Welch Monday will use a Head Start classroom to highlight the possible impact of these cuts on education.

In Vermont there are around 1,500 kids enrolled in Head Start programs. In order for a family to send their kid to Head Start they must make less than $24,600 to qualify for the program.

If President Trump’s budget is passed it is unknown how much funding Head Start would lose.

It cost around $15.5 million dollars to run Head Start in Vermont for the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

Officials at the Sarah Holbrook Community center, where Chittenden County Head Start is, say they don't know how much funding they would lose, but they can't afford it. “The first reaction I have is fear. We start every year with a zero based budget and go from there,” said Leisa Pollander, Executive Director of the Sara Holbrook Center.

“In our view any cuts to programs that serve the community are unwarranted and ill conceived,” said Paul Behrman, Director for Champlain Valley Head Start.

Congressman Welch will be taking the next two weeks and visiting places around Vermont discussing President Trump’s budget and its impact on Vermont.

President Trump and his supporters say military and defense are the priorities that the country needs to focus on right now.