Hal Goode, Executive Director
You may have read information from the Kentucky Senate on Senate Bill 60 that recently passed the Senate and is making its way to the House for deliberation. For the last 58 years, Kentucky Community Action Head Start agencies have directly and independently operated Head Start. Collectively, our statewide Head Start directors are the experts for Head Start in 96 of Kentucky’s 120 counties. Just like every school district has a superintendent, every Head Start program has a Head Start Director.
Kentucky’s Community Action Head Start for which Central Kentucky Community Action Council is a member, have asked for an amendment to Bill 60 and work with Head Starts to develop language for a statute that will strengthen the relationships that exist between local school districts and local Head Start programs.
The issue at hand is something called the “full utilization” of Head Start federal funding, and more broadly, who can make decisions for Head Start enrollment in Kentucky.
So why does this matter? Full utilization safeguards every dollar our state has access to for early childhood education—both Head Start federal funding and state taxpayer funding used for public preschool education. Full utilization ensures federal resources are used first in all counties while maximizing the number of children enrolled in Head Start and preschool programs, or both.
So, what is our Head Start asking of our Legislature? Head Start and school districts should come to the early childhood table as equals. However, the proposed language in SB 60, related to handling disputes when they arise, will erode our current collaboration, and eliminate a fair and equitable process for the Head Start community. Therefore, we ask that the chief state school officer be removed from the language and replaced with an independent, third-party arbitrator that will hold no biases when hearing disputes.
No question, it would be a fair addition to help improve the working relationships and collaborations between local school districts and local Head Start directors, which is our goal with this legislation and the goal of the Kentucky Senate.
Kentucky Community Action Head Start comprises 14 Community Action Agencies directly operating Head Start in 96 counties in Kentucky, which includes Central Kentucky Community Action Head Start.
More to come……………much more.