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29 June 2013, by , in blog, Budgeting, Education, Food, Head Start, Health, Savings, Supplies, Comments off

How to Overcome the Budget Cuts Already Affecting Head Start Programs Nationwide

The Obama Administration announced that it would begin cutting all “non-defense discretionary” functions in the federal budget by as much as 5.1 percent. The budget cuts were put into effect as of March 2013. As a result, educational programs that rely on government funding, such as the Early Head Start and Head Start Programs, are being directly affected by these cuts.

Most educational programs are already operating on a shoestring budget, so a cut of this size has the potential to severely impact the functions of Head Start Programs nationwide. Many non-profit educational programs will be scrambling in the months ahead to find new ways to make up for the loss in federal funding.

Unfortunately, those methods will likely include lowering employee compensation, cutting employee positions and reducing the number of children who are eligible to enroll in the Head Start Programs. In fact, the Office of Head Start is now estimating that more than 70,000 at-risk children could lose access to Head Start services because of these federal budget cuts.

Head Start Programs in the News

Reports are already coming in from across the country, as Head Start Programs are being forced to reduce enrollment opportunities as a result of the federal spending cuts. While the media is covering these cuts, it certainly isn’t making headline news, so many taxpayers are unaware of all the reductions being made.

  • Cleveland County, Arkansas – The Head Start Program in Cleveland County will be losing a Head Start classroom and one staff person in the 2013-2014 school year. This will result in 28 fewer spots being available to at-risk children who would be eligible to receive health, nutrition, parent involvement services and pre-school education. The federal budget cuts resulted in a loss of $34,239 or approximately 5 percent for the coming school year.
  • Kanawha County, West Virginia – The local Head Start Program will be cutting approximately 14 students from their local program as a direct result of the federal budget cuts. While they will be able to continue on with the quality of services provided to local families who rely on the program for pre-school education, nutrition, health and parental education, the cuts will be felt deeply statewide, as nearly 25 percent of all 4 year-olds living in West Virginia are eligible for the Head Start Program.
  • Lawrence-Douglas County, Kansas – A Head Start Program that currently serves one of the poorest neighborhoods in the county will be closing at the end of the school year due to the federal budget cuts known as “sequestration.” The loss to the Lawrence-Douglas County Head Start Program will be approximately $17,000. In addition to closing the Edgewood school, two teaching positions will be cut within the county.
  • Washington County, Arkansas – As a result of federal “sequestration” budget cuts, the Head Start Program near Fayetteville, Arkansas will be closing its classrooms for the summer 13 days earlier than scheduled. The budget cuts will be taking $150,000 from the Washington County Head Start Program operating budget. While 13 days might not seem like a lot, the money saved will remove 10,000 meals from 381 low-income families and 30,000 hours of educational and family development services from the people who need it the most.


Smart Savings Can Save the Day

While some Head Start Programs are working to reduce expenses in response to the federal budget cuts in some pretty obvious ways by cutting spots, staff and classrooms, there are other options available to administrators. At the 2013 National Head Start Association Conference, SupplySource introduced methods for saving money on food and supply purchasing to Head Start programs that can eliminate the need to reduce enrollment or staff. In fact, SupplySource has been helping Head Start Programs save as much as 10-50 percent on purchases which can be equal to thousands of dollars each year.

Even employees who do not work in the financial department should at least introduce the idea of reducing food and supply purchasing expenses to their supervisors. Working with SupplySource can help to save your local program from the devastating results of the federal budget cuts. In fact, many of the Head Start Programs that now use SupplySource since the approval of the budget cuts have actually saved more money than the government initially cut from their spending.

SupplySource: Pencils, Buses and Everything in Between

Before you make a purchase, whether you are buying office supplies or are making a larger investment in a school bus, contact SupplySource and take advantage of their bargaining power to get the best possible deal available. The services offered by SupplySource are completely free, so there’s no risk involved to Head Start programs that are interested in exploring their options.

It all starts with a free analysis of your invoices and receipts from purchases made throughout the year or a list of pricing information for the items and services you buy on a regular basis. Contact SupplySource today for more information about all of the services and opportunities available to help Head Start Programs and other non-profit educational organizations reduce spending. They will work with you to help protect your Head Start and Early Head Start programs from the current financial crisis.

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