Shutdown might shut down local Head Start schools

Shutdown might shut down local Head Start schools

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - The government shutdown is affecting more than those in Washington.

Parents and children in the Heartland are starting to see an impact.

Markus Collier has a 3-year-old at the Head Start location in Cape Girardeau.

He said at a time when video games and TV can rule a child's day, Head Start is vital to growing up and getting ready for school.

"It's that essential coming together and socialization and actually learning and prepping for kindergarten, that is really needed," said Collier.

If the federal government shutdown continues, that need might not be met.

Renee Killian, the director of Head Start with the East Missouri Action Agency, said this is a scary time.

She said the program is 100 percent federally funded. Right now, their federal grant will allow them to keep their doors open through December 31. But if lawmakers don't come to an agreement before then, local programs might end at the first of the year.

Collier said he depends Head Start.

"To me that would mean time off of work, time off of work mean less bills getting paid," said Collier.

While the doors could stay open, the program might have to change if there isn't an end to the shutdown soon.

Right now, kids get breakfast, lunch and snacks at Head Start. Then, the federal government reimburses the food costs each month.

Killian said they could keep serving through October but after that they'll have to make some adjustments.

Collier has a message for lawmakers.

"If it were their child who was given their kid a head start, they would truly know the feeling, some of them are so far privileged they never know what it means to have someone look after their kid while you take care of business," said Collier. "Don't take away our opportunities for the kids to grow up, and for us to do better ourselves."

Head Start administrators like Killian said they're hoping for the best, that the government will open up and continue to fund the Head Start program.

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