UPDATE, October 8, 2013: California Head Start programs are not threatened by the federal government's shutdown, reports Lillian Mongreau in today's EdSource:
... No state programs receive their federal Head Start grants in October; money stopped flowing to the federal education program for low-income children on Oct. 1 when the government shutdown began. (See below for list of grant renewal dates for California programs.) Four California programs would face closure in November in the unlikely event the shutdown were to continue.
One California program that could face closure next month if Congress doesn’t find a way to fund the federal government is the Howonquet Head Start in Smith River, on the Oregon border. The program serves 34 children in the Smith River Rancheria tribe, said the program’s director Ronda Ritchie. She’s hoping that the government has a budget in place by Nov. 1, she said.
“If not, it will be up to the tribal council if they’re going to keep the program open,” Ritchie said. “They do have revenues that come from the casino. I have no idea if that’s something they would do but knowing how they are about children and families makes me think it’s a possibility.”...
UPDATE, August 14, 2103: Lillian Mongreau, reporting on today's EdSource, confirms big cuts in the state's Head Start enrollment due to sequestration -- but the numbers don't seem to be as dire as the March estimates of 8,200 statewide losses that were given by the California Head Start Association (see below); in Los Angeles, for example, 900 slots were eliminated. The March estimate had feared the loss of 2,000 openings. Nonetheless, each cut is a child with a lost opportunity, and even prior to sequestration, as Mongreau notes, 76,000 children who were eligible for Head Start were unable to be served.
UPDATE, March 11, 2013: The estimates from the California Head Start Association (story below) may have been conservative, according to a story in the Sunday Los Angeles Times by Dalina Castellanos that states 2,000 children are slated to be cut from Head Start in Los Angeles, and up to 8,200 state-wide.
..."The long-term projection is devastating. The level of cuts is so dramatic and so concentrated on non-defense discretionary spending that its ultimate impact will carry on for generations," said Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank) during a visit to the Mothers' Club Family Learning Center in Pasadena (photo) on Friday...If the sequester cuts go through as proposed, more than 2,000 of the 24,000 Head Start seats and dozens of teacher positions in Los Angeles County would be eliminated, according to the L.A. County Office of Education. California stands to lose $78 million in Head Start funding, terminating services for 8,200 children.
It might not seem like much, but "for me, one family is too many," said Hector LaFarga Jr., executive director of Mothers' Club.
Yvette Sanchez Fuentes, director of the federal Office of Head Start, held a conference call for Head Start administrators on Friday, March 1, to help local programs begin planning for the 5.1 percent cuts that are going to affect all of the primary funding streams Head Start uses to keep its doors open. Sanchez Fuentes also verified that local programs would not be cut until their current fiscal year ends, and their funds are renewed. Head Start programs have varying grant renewal dates that can fall on the first of the month throughout the year.
Programs must operate with those reduced funding levels unless Congress takes action to undo the impact of the sequester, Sanchez Fuentes said in the call, according to Rick Mockler, at left, head of the California Head Start Association, and a participant in the call. In the meantime, Mockler said, he sees no way to avoid local cuts that will shrink the number of children Head Start serves. Currently, 112,000 children attend Head Start programs in California, Mockler estimated that number may have to be reduced by as many as 6,000 as a result of the sequester.
March 5, 2013: Before the cuts went into effect March 1, the Associated Press was reporting that the impact of sequestration's triggers on California would be limited, at least for the short term:
The White House estimates that in California, 64,000 civilian defense workers would be furloughed and 1,200 teaching and teacher aide jobs would be put at risk from the mandatory budget reductions known as the "sequester." Obama administration officials also said the state will see program cuts in children's vaccines, senior nutrition, student work-study jobs and assistance for victims of domestic violence..."You always have to assume that nothing will happen for a month, and by then they may have resolved it," said Stephen Levy, director and senior economist at the Palo Alto-based Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy. "Who knows who's playing chicken?"
National Public Radio, in a piece today making the point that in the sequester cuts, the needs of the elderly trumped the needs of children, nonethess qualified this thesis with:
...Even at the federal level, while many programs that benefit children directly or indirectly are under the ax, others have been sheltered from the sequester — notably, food stamps, the earned-income tax credit and Medicaid.
"It could be much worse," says Julia Isaacs, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute. "The people who wrote the law exempted so many low-income programs, and children are, unfortunately, disproportionately low-income."...
VOXXI reports that Latino populations in California and Texas will be especially hard-hit by specific cuts:
...[In a joint letter to Congress from Hispanic Education Coalition (HEC), LULAC and the Mexican American Legal Defense Education Fund (MALDEF) noted an estimated 1,181,600 fewer students nationwide would be served by Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), and 9,910 educators and school personnel would lose their jobs. Hispanic students make up 36 percent of the students served by Title I.
“We anticipate that California and Texas may be hit the hardest in terms of actual people losing benefits,” [LULAC director of education policy Luis] Torres said. “That’s where we have our larger bulk of the Latino population.”...March 1, 2013: If you can bear to read one more thing about the sequester, read Kevin Drum's column today in Mother Jones, "The Sequester Explained." Here's a taste of the tone, which more or less exactly matches our tired vibe [emphases ours]:
...The sequester legislation requires the cuts to come evenly from every budget account. This means everything (with a few exceptions) gets cut the same amount. This is an especially stupid way to cut spending, since everyone agrees that some programs are more important than others, but that's the way it is. If you really want to torture yourself, you can read this OMB report, which contains 224 pages listing the sequester amounts from every single agency in the United States government. It's followed by another 158 mind-numbing pages of agency accounts that are exempt from the sequester.
But as stupid as this is, don't get too excited about it. It's only for FY2013, which lasts seven more months. After that, although the total amount stays in place ($109 billion, split evenly between defense and domestic spending), congressional appropriations committees have much more flexibility about how to juggle the cuts.
Aren't we still in a recession? What are these cuts going to do to the economy?
Technically, we're no longer in a recession, but there's no question the economy remains weak. A big bunch of dumb spending cuts is about the last thing we need...
February 26, 2013: Predicting that "many of these students may never make up the lost ground," State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson called for public pressure on Congressional leaders to repeal "drastic budget cuts" that will take effect Friday under sequestration. In a list released this morning, Torlakson enumerated the specifics of estimated cuts ($262 million) to California's federally funded ed programs:
*$91 million for Title 1 schools
*$72 million in special education funding
*$2.8 million for public charter schools
*6.9 million for career and technical education
*$9.6 million for English learners
$3.7 million in "impact aid" (including children of active duty service members)
Giving an overview of the potential consequences of the budget cuts in the federal "sequestration," reporters Ricardo Lopez and Richard Simon in today's Los Angeles Times include cuts to public schools and Head Start:
...[LAUSD] is bracing for a loss of $37 million a year in federal funding. Supt. John Deasy said Monday that he is sending a letter to the California congressional delegation warning about the "potential very grave impact" of the cuts on Los Angeles schools.
Rachelle Pastor Arizmendi, director of early childhood education at the Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment in Los Angeles, said she anticipated that the cuts would cost her agency $980,000 in federal Head Start funding. That would force PACE to eliminate preschool for about 120 children ages 3 to 5.
"It's not just a number," she said. "This is closing down classrooms. This is putting our children behind when they're going to kindergarten."
The nonprofit serves about 2,000 children, providing most of them two meals a day in addition to preschool education. The cuts would mean PACE would have to lay off four of its 20 teachers, forcing the closure of eight Head Start classrooms, Arizmendi said.
The State Department of Education estimates that "between [cuts in grants] for low-income kids, special ed students and Head Start..."roughly 2,000 teachers and aides" will be laid off.
Other threatened programs that directly serve children and youth include planned cuts to federally funded work-study programs for college students. Overall, the state is braced for losing up to $10 billion in federal monies this year -- $3.2 billion in the state's defense industry, and $6.8 billion in all other categories.