Mike Lintner, president and CEO of the Marshall-Starke Development Program, said a $90,000 funding cut due to the federal sequester has forced them to cut transportation to some students they serve.
“We had to look at what we could do to continue to operate the program, but with 5.27 percent less funding,” explained Lintner. “We have made the decision to reduce the amount of transportation we provide to the Head Start children.”
He added that transportation is not mandated by the Head-Start program. Transportation will still be available to all children through the remainder of this school year.
Reducing transportation, Lintner said, was the best solution for the students.
“We really didn’t want to reduce the number of kids we serve, we didn’t want to cut the program year, we didn’t want to cut our program day, so we felt like the thing that we could do that would have the least impact on the children would be to reduce the transportation,” Lintner said.
The decision was made that Marshall-Starke will only provide transportation those students who live beyond a 10-mile radius from a Head Start facility. Classrooms are located in Knox, North Judson, Culver and Plymouth.
“When the school year starts, we will transport children in the Grovertown and Hamlet areas to the Knox facility. In Marshall County, we will only be transporting kids who live in the Bremen and Argos areas,” said Lintner.
The number of bus drivers and bus monitors were reduced as part of the transportation cut.
The Marshall-Starke Head Start program offers preschool classes to three-, four- and five-year-old children in the Marshall and Starke County areas.