Money Watchers: RI Head Start programs set back

Several Head Start locations in Rhode Island are cutting some of their programs after losing $90,000 in federal money.

"We were asked to reduce our Head Start budget by the feds," said Joseph DeSantis, CEO of the Tri-Town Community Action Agency, which administers several Head Start sites.

Some programs are closing two weeks early while others are opening two weeks late.

"This is a very important program and it does so much for children, and I maintain that at the end of the day it's going to cost the country more money by not having it," DeSantis said.

One of the locations, on Hartford Avenue in Johnston, will likely close all together. Seven sites will cut a month out of their programming, which covers eight cities and towns.

Desantis said he saw it coming.

"We knew we would be cut. We follow the news. We knew money is tight and we know that there is a huge deficit, but it's a question of priorities. What does Congress, what does the nation what to spend money on? So the sequester, I think, was kind of a set up because nobody thought it was going to go through," he said.

Letters have gone out to parents explaining the cuts, but Desantis said there's still some hope. Advocates are working with members of the General Assembly.

"I think it's possible they could restore some of the funding if not all of it," he said.

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