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Head Start funds being cut

Published March 18. 2010 05:00PM

The Schuylkill County Commissioners were informed by the director of the county's Children and Youth Services that the funds for the Head Start supplemental assistance program from the Pennsylvania Department of Education is being permanently cut by two percent which will force the agency to reduce the hours and days for the program and the head start program will be offered primarily in the Pottsville area. The grim news was related by Director Lisa Stevens at the work session held Wednesday at the courthouse in Pottsville.

Ms. Stevens explained the reduced funding will continue to be used to serve 107 head start eligible chlidren and families in Schuylkill County but due to the reduced funding, hours and days of programming will be reduced from six hours to five hours each day and from 180 days to 168 days and comprehensive head start services will be offered primarily in the Pottsville area. The commissioners will act on the proposal at the public meeting next Wednesday, which will be held in the Porter Township Municipal Building, Village of Muir and not at the courthouse in Pottsville.

The commissioners were also informed about more state subsidy reductions. Mary Ann Devlin, of the Child Development Program said the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare has reducing its funding for state subsidized child care sevices in Schuylkill County for the period of July 1, 2010 to June 30. 2011 from $4.8 million to $3.8 million.

The commissioners were informed by the Juvenile Probation Office and Children and Youth Services Agency they are working out a plan to reduce the number of placements of juveniles to homes and instead a position in the juvenile probation department will be reclassified with the probation officer to oversee programs and services the juveniles could be instructed to participated instead of being placed in distance places at daily rates which cost over $100. It was pointed out a savings of $36,000 can be realized from one less placement. The two departments are striving to keep expenditures down to meet the new austere budget set by the commissioners.

Controller Melinda Kantner reported only one bid was received for the proposed project of improving accessibility to the Norwegian Township Municipal Building. The lone bid was from Smith and Smith General Contractors, Pottsville, for $46,500; The funds for the project will come out of the county's 2009 CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) Program. The bid was turned over to Gary Bender, head of the GDBG Program for review and recommendation.

The meeting was chaired by Commissioner Mantura Gallagher with Commissioner Frank Staudenmeier. Commissioner Francis McAndrew was absent.

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