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State Senator Audrey Gibson working toward a solution

6:42 PM, May 17, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Parents were angry when they learned Friday would be the last day for Head Start classes, three weeks earlier than scheduled to end. Now officials are working to find a way to resume those classes for three weeks.

State Senator Audrey Gibson has been emailing and calling officials in Washington trying to help come up with a solution. She contacted Assistant Secretary George Sheldon for the Office of Administration for Children and Families, the national director for Head Start and Congresswoman Corrine Brown.

Senator Gibson said local clergy members have come up with a list of area churches willing to host the 1500 head start students for three weeks. Gibson says she was told by Head Start national director Yvette Fuentes that the new locations would have to be licensed.

"I said well fortunately we have DCF at the ready, to go to go out with CDI (Community Developement Institute) to do the inspections and get the licensing done post haste."

Gibson says the Head Start director committed to having the community development institute go out with DCF and do the inspections Friday.

Gibson said it is important to continue the program, and help working parents have a place for their kids to be..and be safe. She said that safety is important, as it was safety concerns that led to the federal government taking over for the Urban League.

It was good news to many like Latoya Tayler, picking up her son De'onte for what she believed to be the last day of Head Start for this school year.

"I think it is good because most parents they don't have nowhere else for their kids to go," said Taylor. "Like me, I don't have anywhere else for him to go, going to Head Start, and being they are closing it down, he don't have anywhere else to go, and he likes school, I think it is good. I am going to be paying extra for him now that the school is closing so I do hope they get it worked out."

Natasha Halsall hopes her daughter can return to class. "I mean I am ok with that whereever my child can go the rest of the next three weeks what have you and another center, I am ok with that, as long as I know where to go at."

Gibson said if the decision is made she thinks should be made, she will be the first to notify the media and let parents know where their children can attend the final three weeks of Head Start classes.

"I am not 100 percent confident if will happen because I am not in control," said Gibson.

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