How the Sequester will affect education in Western Massachusetts

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) — Sequestration. Simply put, it's an across-the-board funding cut.

From the defense department to the meat industry, everyone will be affected, including preschoolers who attend programs like Head Start.

In his State of the Union address, President Obama said he wants to expand Head Start, but if Congress approves these budget cuts, Head Start in Massachusetts will actually lose more than $9 million in funding. That means the number of teachers and students may have to be cut.

Nicole Blaise, the Director of Community Engagement at Holyoke Springfield Chicopee Head Start told 22News if they lose funding, they will look for solutions that will not affect teachers, students and families.

“We even talked about paper products and bringing in real plates and china so we wash dishes. Bringing in our own coffee and creamer. All these little things that over the course of the year do add up,” Explained Blaise.

But voters hope it's something educators never have to worry about.

Gus Files of Whitefish, Montana told 22News, “We need education. We need an informed public, and we can't do that if we don't bring our children up from the beginning in an environment where they can ask, challenge, question and learn and grow.”

Head Start hopes they won't have to cut the number of teachers they have or the number of students they serve.

Without Head Start, some families won't be able to afford pre-school education for their children.

Copyright 2014 WWLP TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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