Chattanooga City Council approves Head Start funding

Chattanooga City Council approves Head Start funding

July 31st, 2013 by Joy Lukachick Smith in Local Regional News

Chattanooga City Hall

Photo by Meghan Brown

REQUEST FOR PUBLIC INPUT

Councilman Moses Freeman is asking for public input on the event halls where three people have been killed since April. Moses announced he will hold a public hearing Aug. 6 between 3:30 and 4 p.m during his public safety committee where residents can voice there concerns.

While Head Start programs across the country are in jeopardy because of federal sequestration, Chattanooga will continue partnering with day care centers across the city with only a slightly smaller federal grant.

City Council members approved Tuesday night a resolution to continue the city’s agreement with nine local children’s services using a $1.2 million federal grant — a $160,000 difference from last year.

Chattanooga Head Start/Early Head Start director Sherry Hutsell said the city has also worked to open up extra slots at two other centers after the North Chattanooga Head Start site was forced to close in May because of sequestration cuts.

Sequestration is the process that triggered an estimated $85 billion in across-the-board cuts after President Barack Obama, the House and the Senate failed to trim $1 trillion from the federal deficit.

Since the sequestration, Chattanooga’s Head Start program also lost nearly $458,000 of its current budget and cut more than 60 children from the Head Start/Early Head Start programs. But Hutsell said the city was able to find about 37 Head Start slots at another center and about 10 Early Head Start slots for infants and toddlers.

Youth and Family Development Director Lurone Jennings couldn’t say whether the city would be able to bring back more early childhood development programs in the future, but said the city is examining how to improve the current programs.

“When those types of things happen we have no control over it,” Jennings said referring to the federal cuts. At Tuesday night’s meeting, city council members also approved 12 resolutions related to a road project for a Goodwin Road extension and an Igou Gap roundabout near Gunbarrel Road.

The resolutions authorized the city to pay several residents for a right-of-way easement. The city also is purchasing a piece of property for $130,000.

<em>Contact staff writer Joy Lukachick at jlukachick@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6659. </em>