Callaway County Head Start Program Spared Most Cuts

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FULTON - Fewer children will be able to participate in the Head Start program in Central Missouri this year, but the Callaway County office will see very few cuts. The Central Missouri Community Action organization (CMCA) will lose 5 percent of its federal funding because of federal sequestration. That cut amounts to nearly $300,000 of the organization's $5.7 million federal budget.

To deal with the budget cuts, the CMCA board of directors approved a reorganization of its Head Start Program last week. The changes include 105 fewer slots for students and 19 fewer paid positions. Though the changes are significant across the eight counties served by the CMCA, only one slot will be cut from Callaway County's Head Start program. 

"We looked at how big of a wait-list we have at each of the centers across the eight counties, we looked at unemployment data, poverty statistics, and we looked at what other resources are available in each community," said CMCA executive director Darin Preis. 

Preis said the waiting list, poverty and unemployment all factored into the CMCA's decision to maintain the bulk of the program in Callaway County. However, Preis said support from the community played a big role. "The United Way of Callaway County and other organizations are very supportive of our Head Start program," said Preis. "It really just combined for a package where we felt comfortable that we had the resources to maintain our services there." 

Here is a list of how the 105 fewer slots will be spread across the other seven counties:

Audrain: 16

Boone: 45

Cole: 30

Cooper: 10

Moniteau: 3

Osage: 0

Preis said the CMCA is awaiting approval of the Head Start reorganization from the federal Head Start office.