Weatherford Democrat

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April 26, 2013

Head Start budget cuts hit Navarro, Palo Pinto counties

Federal sequestration forced agency to make staff, classroom reductions

(Continued)

“What we did was use a data-driven census model for each county to help us decide how and where to make the cuts,” Manning said.

He said staff cuts would be realized no matter which of three options the board and policy council agreed to.

In order to meet the remaining reductions, the board also approved a method for staff cuts, which includes educational achievement, employee performance and longevity.

“Since I’ve been here, we haven’t had budget cuts like this,” Barbara Brister, TNS Children’s Services Director, said. “But we did have periods where we had no additional funding and, since we weren’t actually having cuts, we were able to cut our hours instead of slots or positions.”

The first basis for layoff for teachers and teacher assistants will be based on educational achievement, the second basis would be individual employee performances and, in the event of a tie, the third basis will be longevity.

For non-classroom staff, the first layoff basis will be employee performances and attendance and the second would be longevity.

“We’ve already started combining some positions and eliminating others, such as combining two assistants into one and cutting the other,” Manning said.

The board also approved a motion to offer severance packages to those laid off based on the budget available.

Early Head Start, available for expectant mothers through children 3 years old, currently serves 294 clients, with funding – including training and technical assistance – at $3.7 million, or $57.19 per day per child. Head Start, for ages 3 and 4, serves 891 kids, with a funding amount of $5.8 million, or $39.65 per day per child.

The current fiscal year expires Sept. 30, meaning the cuts won’t take affect until the next school year.

“Children attending Head Start and Early Head Start during the 2013-14 school year will not be impacted,” Manning said.

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