National Head Start Association officials say a donation of up to $10 million from two philanthropists will help keep Head Start programs in Missouri and several other states running during the federal government shutdown.
Governor Jay Nixon was at the Jefferson Day Care Center yesterday promoting his plan to increase funding for pre-k education in Missouri.
The governor recently awarded two other grants to the Kansas City School District, to help provide access to quality education to children in day care before entering kindergarten. The governor's visit to the Jefferson City Day Care Center celebrated the day care center's participation in the so-called "Missouri Start Smart" grant initiative.
State Auditor Tom Schweich (R) said the Early Childhood Development, Education and Care Fund provided more than $170,000 to three child care facilities that failed to open or expand their facilities as planned.
Missouri lawmakers have passed legislation that could patch a hole in the state budget for early childhood programs and health care for the blind.
A bill given final approval Friday would transfer $55 million from general revenues into a new fund to finance the programs. The move was necessary because the 2014 budget passed last week by lawmakers called for funding the programs with savings from the repeal of a tax break for low-income seniors and disabled residents who live in rental housing.
The future of early childhood education programs like Head Start hangs in the air as recent federal budget cuts, or sequestration, will eliminate resources aimed to provide low-income families a quality foundation for the beginning of a child’s education. The most recent cuts have put Columbia Public Schools in the position of funding two instructional aides.
In his State of the State Address, Gov. Jay Nixon outlined his proposal to boost funding for early childhood education by $17 million, saying, “early childhood education is a smart investment, with a big return.”