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Archive for Thursday, January 23, 1992

LOCAL HEAD START PROGRAM NOT EXPECTED TO EXPAND

January 23, 1992

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Even with additional funding proposed Tuesday by President Bush, the local Head Start program probably will not be able to expand and enroll more children, the agency director for Head Start said Wednesday.

Bill Campbell, agency director for Head Start out of the East Central Kansas Economic Opportunity Corp. in Ottawa, said space limitations would not allow the Lawrence Head Start program to expand.

Calling Head Start a "government program that works," Bush said Tuesday that he would seek a $600 million spending increase to allow 157,000 more poor children to enter the preschool program. The new proposal would boost funding for Head Start to $2.8 billion for fiscal 1993. Democrats in Congress are proposing a $1 billion increase for fiscal year 1993, which starts Oct. 1. For the current year, Bush requested a $100 million increase, but Congress increased it to $250 million.

"It's very encouraging," Campbell said of the funding.

HEAD START, which provides educational, health and nutritional services for children, enrolls 622,000 youngsters. The White House said Bush's initiative would boost enrollment to 779,000. More than 90 percent of Head Start children come from families living in poverty; 10 percent are handicapped.

Campbell said he doesn't know how additional funds would affect Head Start programs administered through ECKAN. Campbell directs Head Start programs in Douglas, Lyon, Osage, Franklin and Miami counties. The local Head Start program currently serves 78 children at its center, 925 Vt.

Although Campbell said the Lawrence program was not in a position to expand, he said several other communities are interested in establishing Head Start centers. For example, school districts in Garnett and Eudora have talked to Campbell about the possibility of setting up Head Start programs there.

CAMPBELL said he should know by April how much extra money might become available. In the past, Head Start programs administered through ECKAN have received about $50,000 when additional funding has become available.

Charline Freitag, director of Lawrence's Head Start Community Children's Center, said the agency received a funding increase Sept. 1, when money was added to "all parts of the budget," including supplies and staff salaries.

Freitag said the program hasn't expanded because of the size of the center, which is in Plymouth Congregational Church. She said Head Start has a commitment to the church to remain at the current location.

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