WASHINGTON (AP) — Automatic federal spending cuts will reduce the number of low-income children in Head Start’s preschool programs by more than 57,000 during the next school year, the Office of Head Start said Monday.
More than a million children are served each year by the programs, which are a legacy of President Lyndon B. Johnson 1960s war on poverty. The programs help prepare children for elementary school and also provide them with meals and health care. Twenty-nine percent of the participating children are black, 37 percent are Latino and 41 percent are white.
The total reduction of 57,265 in the number of children who will be served by Head Start next year results from the automatic spending cuts that were put in place after Congress and the White House failed to reach agreement two years ago on a plan to cut the federal deficit. The Head Start Office said it surveyed each of its programs across the country to determine the total number of reductions.
California has the largest reduction, serving 5,611 fewer children, followed by Texas, 4,410; New York, 3,847; Pennsylvania, 2,812; and Ohio, 2,782.