Head Start Feeling The Pinch

Oct 4, 2013

Central Kentucky Head Start classroom
Central Kentucky Head Start classroom

The federal program that promotes school readiness of kids from birth though age five from low-income families could close their doors in Lexington.

Community Action Council Executive Director Malcolm Ratchford says that's the reality if the shutdown continues.  There was enough money to pay workers their last checks but drastic measures have to be taken to keep things running for two more weeks.  The board has agreed to rely on bank loans to remain operational.

Ratchford has this message for members of Congress.

“There are people we know live paycheck to paycheck.  We see the levels of poverty in our communities and you are hurting the most vulnerable people in our country when we do these types of things regardless of which party.”

He called the shutdown a bad waiting game full of uncertainty.

“It’s bad to be in a waiting game when you’re talking about people’s lives.   Two weeks out is basically where you are.  You don’t know what’s going to happen in two weeks.  You just don’t know.  We’re just trying to make it to that time period to see how we can use our resources that we currently have that we know are not indefinite.  Pretty soon if the government doesn’t open back up those are going to run out and we will actually have to close.”

According to Ratchford, some Head Start programs across the state will have to close on Monday if the shutdown continues.  Lexington’s Community Action Council offices will sustain themselves for a few more weeks by utilizing bank loans.  If the shutdown goes on through the month, Ratchford says they will not be able to operate.