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Parents and Employees Concerned about Future of Head Start Program

Forty five employees may be out of a job soon leaving over 300 children out of school.
The federally funded Head Start program for those with low or reduced incomes would've been closed yesterday due to the government shutdown. But the Dothan City school board voted last night to fund the program for twenty more working days; that decision will cost more than 350,000 dollars that will come from a local fund.

If the government is still closed by November 5th, the school board will have to look at the issue again and see if they can afford to keep the school open longer and if not, 45 employees will be out of a job and over 300 students won't be in school. Now many working parents are concerned about how they can watch their children during the day.

"I would have to get child care in some other way to make sure that they're taken care of while I work because I work every day... It affects jobs some work two and three jobs just to make ends meet so at the end of the day we do need the funding in order for the parents to go on and the children to have a better life and this program is very important to us," said parent, Kenyatta Carter.

Some employees are even looking at other job options if they’re out of a job in just a matter of days.

"We also have staff members that are single parents we have staff members that if they lose their job it could mean am I going to be able to feed my family? How do I feed my family if my job is lost," said Jerryneta Evans, Principal of Head Start.

Administrators say that even if the government opens before the November 5th deadline it doesn't mean the funds will be there to keep the school open past the school board's deadline.

"We would not reopen our program or change the reduction in force on November 5th until we get some information that actually says the funding is restored."

But all parents and employees can do is wait... Wait and hope that the government reopens before the November deadline comes around.

Even more problems could be in store for Dothan City Schools--if the government remains closed much longer then title one services will also be shut down and that would impact hundreds of jobs in our area.

We'll keep following this story and how the shut down could affect other schools in our area.
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