Some NM Head Start programs closing

Posted at: 10/04/2013 9:56 PM
Updated at: 10/04/2013 10:24 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Thousands of New Mexican children are enrolled in Head Start programs. They provide early education and are funded by the federal government. Now, because of the government shutdown, some of them are out of cash – and parents are out of luck.

Working mom Sheri Dobias enrolled her four-year-old daughter in Head Start for a reason.

“I looked into day cares and they were too expensive and I don't really want a babysitter, I want education for her,” Dobias said.

But yesterday, just days after school portraits were taken, she got a letter saying today was the last day of class until further notice.

“Schooling and education for any child -- no matter how old they are, how young they are -- it should not be considered nonessential,” Dobias said. “If they need to make cuts they should be wherever they need to be -- but with education, why?”

Not all Head Start programs will take a hit Youth Development Incorporated, which runs programs in Bernalillo County, Rio Arriba County and Taos County, already has schools funded through the end of the year.

But programs run by the Mid-West New Mexico Community Action program only got enough money to last through now. They’re closed until the shutdown ends.

Dobias is most upset that her daughter has nowhere to learn, but also feels for the teachers her four-year-old has grown to love.

“200 teachers that were involved, bus drivers that take them to and from - so it’s not just my child its over 1,000 kids, and it's just- it’s heartbreaking, it really is,” Dobias said.

If the shutdown ends this weekend, the program will notify parents on Sunday of whether class is back on. Until the shutdown is over, their hands are tied.