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March 1 cuts could impact children using Head Start

By Bianca Rae, KESQ News Channel 3 Reporter, brae@kesq.com
Published On: Feb 26 2013 12:13:31 AM CST
Updated On: Feb 26 2013 12:20:00 AM CST
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -

Jordan Kalsen now speaks with confidence.

"I had no idea what to say, then a couple years later, I learned how to say the words right," he said.

That's because of Head Start, a program that helps kids do just that - get a head start on life.

"It's really meant to work with children that come from below poverty, poverty level. We provide a wonderful comprehensive program, we provide an introduction to school through our preschool programs," Joan Prehoda of Early Education Education said.

The chaos scheduled to occur just days away would eliminate Head Start for about 8,200 children in California, and there are head start programs in all three Coachella Valley districts.

"That's just pathetic. I don't think they should be cutting anything to do with childcare or their learning," Jordan's mom, Dawn, said.

The cuts affecting kids don't end with Head Start. Unless Congress decides otherwise, California will lose about 88 million dollars in funding for primary and secondary education, putting around 1200 teacher jobs at risk.

"It could be fewer days for children to attend school, fewer opportunities for children to attend Head Start, so we're keeping positive that the cuts won't be as devastating as we're hearing right now," Prehoda said. "Potentially all of the services could be lost for them in the future and of course for their families, or at the very least the types of services could be reduced."

When some kids need head start as much as Jordan, these cuts ahead tear at parents.

"If Head Start wasn't around, my oldest son Jordan might still have speech problems. He might still be unable to read, write, talk properly, he had a lot of issues. He was learning disability," Dawn said.

These cuts don't have to happen. The president says Congress can turn them off anytime they want, if Democrats and Republicans compromise.