Cuts to Head Start could have been avoided

Tuesday’s Rapid City Journal had an article about the need to remove 200 children from Head Start because of budget sequestration. This is the most important issue in terms of having children succeed in school and this problem never should have arisen.

I learned about the cut in Head Start, as the member of the Appropriations Committee, during this session. I discussed spending available state dollars to cover the funds required in order not to have children forced out of the program. I was told that the administration would oppose any such bill because Washington had not determined or released a specific dollar amount to the state. The bill’s only chance of escaping the administration’s opposition was if it carefully documented specific dollar amounts and if formal notification had been received from the Federal Government. I sought and received this information and determined the exact dollar amount that would be cut from each one of the Head Start districts, totaling $1.36M.

I submitted this specific data in good time and prepared an amendment (HB1185MX) to the general bill appropriation bill, HB1185.

The governor’s office still opposed the amendment, preferring instead to take back $4M that had been removed from his appropriation to the Future Fund for the development of the state. What could have been more important to South Dakota than to have children succeed in school?

And this administration calls its self an “education administration”…

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