Education A Washington Roundup

Head Start Group Questions HHS Suggestions On Costs

By Alyson Klein — October 30, 2006 1 min read

The National Head Start Association has criticized a letter sent by the Department of Health and Human Services to Head Start grantees in March suggesting that local Head Start centers cope with a 1 percent cut in the program’s funding for fiscal 2006 by re-evaluating staffing levels and fringe benefits, rather than by cutting student enrollment.

The leaders of the NHSA, an advocacy organization based in Alexandria, Va., sent a letter last month to Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael O. Leavitt saying that Head Start centers have already made such cuts after several years of “relatively flat funding.”

“In reality, local programs already have put into effect these suggestions on a reluctant basis over the last five years,” Ron Herndon, the NHSA’s board chairman, and Sarah Greene, its president, wrote in the letter.

Mr. Herndon and Ms. Greene suggested that the department should instead terminate some or all of its contracts with outside firms that provide Head Start centers with training and technical assistance and pass those savings on to the centers.

A spokeswoman for the Health and Human Services Department did not return calls before deadline.

A version of this article appeared in the November 01, 2006 edition of Education Week