WASHINGTON, D.C. — Head Start agencies across the country were granted a five-year renewal last week with the signing of the Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007, which some say was a long time coming.
“It’s about time,” said Therese Zamoiski, support services coordinator for Episcopal Children’s Services. “[President Bush] has nothing good to say about the program. Thank God for Congress’ support.”
The eligibility requirements were raised from 100 percent of the poverty level for a family of four, about $20,650, to 130 percent, or $26,845. Although the bill was welcomed by many, the funding was not as adequate as some would have liked.
“It is not enough; costs go up, but the grant money has stayed the same,” said Kemble Tellefson, transportation generalist for the Oregon Child Development Coalition. “They do not seem to understand how important transportation is to a Head Start program. The people that have the say may go to a main office but do not go to the people in the trenches to get a real bird’s eye view.”
Head Start centers have been struggling with finding the funds to cover all the program’s many services, including transportation. Certain programs have ceased to offer transportation to its students altogether, some even more so since the release of a program instruction that disallowed parent transportation as a way to make up any portion of an agency’s non-federal share.