April 11, 2013

Sequester could force cuts in local Head Start

Charles Oliver

— Federal sequester budget cuts could lead to cuts in local Head Start programs.

“We are being mandated to reduce our budget by 5 percent. For the counties we serve in North Georgia, that is approximately $450,000 that we will have to cut,” said Paula Bacon, assistant director of the Family Resource Agency of North Georgia.

Head Start and Early Head Start are federally-funded programs that promote school readiness for low-income students up to age 5.

Based in Rossville, the Family Resource Agency of North Georgia provides Head Start and Early Head Start to 1,014 children in 23 centers in Whitfield, Murray, Catoosa, Walker, Dade and Chattooga counties.

“We are in the process of trying to find how we can make those funding cuts with the least amount of impact on our programs,” Bacon said. “We are looking at several options, and nothing has been decided at this time. But it will mean a reduction of slots in our six counties and the potential for at least one center to be closed.”

The federal budget sequester calls for $85 billion to be cut from planned budget increases in fiscal year 2013, which begins Oct. 1, and similar cuts in 2014 and 2015. The cuts are across the board and will be split equally between defense and non-defense discretionary spending. Programs such as Social Security will not be affected.

Congress agreed when it passed the 2011 Budget Control Act that the sequester would take effect if it could not agree on a plan to cut the budget.

“The only way we can avoid these cuts is if sequestration ends,” Bacon said. “Families, staff  and the community need to contact their congressmen and let them know what sequestration is doing in our local communities.”


The Family Resource Agency of North Georgia operates these Head Start and Early Head Start programs in Whitfield and Murray counties.

• Dalton Heritage Head Start

3050 Brooker Drive

• Dalton High Early Head Start

1502 Manly Street

• Murray Head Start/Early Head Start

1002 Green Road, Chatsworth

• Park Creek Head Start

1500 Hale Bowen Drive, Dalton

• Pioneer Head Start

3264-A Cleveland Highway, Dalton

• Valley Point Head Start

158 George Brock Road, Resaca

• Westside Head Start/Early Head Start

1814 Utility Road, Rocky Face

• Whitfield Dalton Head Start/Early Head Start

515 Pentz St., Dalton

• Whitfield Head Start/Early Head Start

2783 Underwood Road, Dalton