Eight pre-school centers in York and neighboring counties could close Friday, if the partial government shutdown is not resolved by then.
Head Start is a pre-school program for low-income children and those with disabilities. Once a year, the federal government deposits into accounts all the money groups running Head Start centers will need for the year. But that falls at different times.
Carolina Community Actions runs eight Head Start centers in York, Chester, Lancaster, and Union Counties that serve 860 children. Its annual payday fell on October 1, the day after House Republicans refused to reauthorize a government spending bill.
“So everything kind of ended at 11:59pm Monday night, as far as any funds to begin this particular year of Head Start,” says Walter Kellogg, the director of Carolina Community Actions.
The group has decided to keep the centers open as long as it could. That’s until this Friday.
“We are trying to find money and we’ll probably have to hit our line of credit to get the funds to operate as we’ve chosen to do Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday of this week,” says Kellogg.
He says parents are understandably upset. Many of them work and will have a hard time finding someone to keep an eye on their children during the day.
Carolina Community Actions is the only group in North and South Carolina affected by the partial shutdown. But across the country head start centers serving 18,000 kids may close because they can’t access the federal money.