Federal sequester cuts to affect local Child Start programming

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WICHITA, Kansas — A national education study released Monday shows an unprecedented drop in state spending on preschool programs last year and looming federal sequester cuts will take that amount down even more.

“The hardest part is to talk to somebody whose life is about to be turned upside down,” explains Teresa Rupp, the executive director of Child Start.

Tuesday will be the last day of work here at Child Start for some staff and the last day of school for some students.

Budget sequester cuts passed down from Congress take effect Wednesday.

They’ll cut at least 10 staff members and 74 students from child start programming.

“The least effective way to make a cut is the way we’re making this cut,” says Rupp.

An across the board cut of 5.27 percent will take the number of children served here down to just under 1,200.

“The things that happen in Head Start are about language, vocabulary development, social skills that help you succeed when you get to school,” says Rupp.

She also says she knows spending cuts are necessary, but that Congress needs to rank what’s important and how tax dollars are best spent.

“We know that investing in children early pays back. That every dollar you spend from ages 0 – 5 pays back $7.00 in benefits. That looks like a pretty good deal to me.”

She says it’s up to the adults who have a voice to contact legislators on behalf of the children.

“We have to hope little children whose whole lives will be affected by what happens in the first five years of their lives would be prioritized as important,” says Rupp.

The dollar amount cut from the Child Start budget amounts to $500,000.

Their sequester cuts take effect Wednesday.

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