Two Panhandle organizations are preparing for significant cuts that stem from the federal sequestration, those that fund the Headstart and School Readiness programs; they stand to lose about $250,000.
By organization: Early Education & Care is facing $170,000 in cuts, they handle the Headstart program. The Early Learning Coalition, which provides the School Readiness program is looking at a $60,000-$80,000 cut. The organization already suffered a half a million-dollar loss last year.
Although $250,000 may seem insignificant when compared to the $109 billion cut from this year's federal budget, organization leaders say it's enough to rock this community.
"I think we have the greatest nation in the world, but I'm very sad and will continue to greave that it is our children who seem to carry the brunt now." Early Learning Coalition Executive Director Lynne Eldridge said.
For several months now, Eldridge and her team has been crunching numbers, trying to determine how many families they can serve. "We are trying to get through March. Very honestly, I think that we'll probably know by April," Eldridge said.
At this point, they are looking at freezing the application process. "In other words, parents will still put in their applications but no new families will be brought on.
More timely are the cuts Early Education & Care faces. "We're projecting somewhere in the neighborhood of $170,000." Early Education & Care Executive Director Pam Fleege said.
The non-profit which funds the Headstart program says at this point everything is on the table. "There's lots and lots of rumors flying around about, they are going to stop our program, they are going to disenroll our children, they are going to let staff go, but those are the absolute last things that will ever be done." Fleege said.
"If it takes us cleaning our own toilets, we'll clean our own toilets, we'll mop our own floors. We'll do whatever we have to do to make sure our children and our families are taken care of. "
Tough times can cause unwanted stress for families, but if there's anything these leaders want to emphasize is to not lose hope and enjoy your children now more than ever.