Head Start funding back in Pinellas

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Rep. Kathy Castor (D) Fla. announced Monday that funding for Head Start families in Pinellas County is back after a bipartisan deal in Congress.

The $1.1 trillion dollar deal cut in Congress a few weeks ago means a return for at some $8.6 billion dollars in funding for the educational program for economically challenged families.

Head Start programs across the country and Bay Area faced significant challenges during the sequester debate late last year.

Funding in Pinellas was in question, meaning slots for up to 200 children were on the chopping block, and Head Starts in Hillsborough had to do without some programs and Hernando County's program had to cut an entire classroom in Brooksville.

Pinellas County's program recently went through a management change, and Lutheran Services stepped in to take over after allegations of misused funds booted the previous management.

"Changes in who was overseeing the program and congressional budget cuts that were so severe that students were going to be hurt," Kathy Castor said of Pinellas' programs woes.

For the families affected, they say this notice that they'll be able to work and send their kids to Head Start is welcome news.

"Having my children being taken care of while I'm off doing things to make it better for my home and my children, it's been great to me," said mother Shauna Crawford.

But funding is not being returned to all programs immediately, in fact Hernando County Head Start says they don't know when they'll receive their funding back and says they look forward to receiving a timeline.

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