Sequestration cuts $557K from Orange Head Start

Sequestration cuts $557K from Orange Head Start

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ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -

You are likely by this point to have heard the debate over sequestration and the cuts to government spending that are coming with it.  We now know at least a small portion of the price tag.

Orange County is cutting $557,000 from its Head Start program, because of the mandated reductions. Orange County Family Services Director Lonnie Bell knew those cuts were coming, so they decided there were two "must haves" for Head Start.

"We did not want to reduce enrollment, and we did not want to reduce the impact of our teachers in the classroom, so those were the two things that we said were sacred."

The decision by Orange County was to eliminate transportation to and from Head Start programs. Lonnie Bell says the county had three bus routes that were eliminated.

"We transported less than a hundred children with those three bus routes, but the bus routes cost us about $470,000 when you look at the personnel involved, the buses, the gas, and all the things that go with transportation."

Bell says that move cost nine people their jobs in the Head Start program. The county will keep them on until the end of the year, and try and find them employment within Orange County government if possible.  Bell says that is it for the low-hanging fruit in the program.  He believes if there are additional cuts, they have to reduce enrollment of kids in the program.

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