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Head Start Lays Off Over 100 Employees

The Central Texas Opportunities Organization was forced to lay off over 100 employees yesterday due to a cut in federal funding.
At 10:00am yesterday, Sheila Blackburn was faced with the task of standing in front of over 100 of Central Texas Opportunities, Inc. employees and telling them that they no longer had a job. It happened because of a change in the federal government regulations for grants issued to Head Start programs around the country leaving this particular branch with out any money. It is now a competitive grant due to compliance and accountability.

Central Texas Opportunities and the Head Start program have been around since 1965 and for the first time in 49 years their services will be put to a halt due to lack of funding. Sheila says she feels sorry for the former employees and she just wants them to know how proud she is of them.

Sheila also agrees with holding Head Start programs that "aren't doing their jobs" accountable but she does not agree with the rules that also punish the ones that are. She states, "Over the past 3-5 years we have helped over 300 families to get off government assistance and out of poverty."

Head start will remain an organization the new "owners" that received the grant money are unknown at this time. The students and their families that are already enrolled will be able to maintain their spot with Head Start, however the location and staff, to their knowledge, are yet to be determined. This does not include the Head Start program in Abilene.
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