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Parents uncertain about Head Start future

5:56 PM, May 22, 2013   |    comments
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Head Start centers in Jacksonville re-open

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- After days of uncertainty, hundreds of parents are relieved to see Jacksonville's Head Start facilities reopen, but many say there are still many unanswered questions.

"We had to find day care providers at the last minute for the children and then for them to say they weren't going to be opening back up and now they are back up," said Jacklyn Fann, day care provider.

Parents and children both were welcomed with open arms at the Springfield Head Start facility Wednesday morning.

All 24 facilities re-opened after closing on Friday, nearly three weeks before the end of the school year. 

"They go to day care already so I just switched them back to day care full time but now it's going to be part time again, they'll just go after school," said Annone Lyles, a parent.

Lyles has two children in head start, a four year old and five year old, and said she hopes she can keep her children in the center.

"I really liked this program because all my kids have went here. I have my oldest daughter who went here and she really learned a lot. It prepared her for kindergarten and it's a really good program," said Lyles.

Fifteen hundred children are in the head start program in Jacksonville. The trouble began in April when the Jacksonville Urban League was no longer provided with the grant funds from the government to operate the programs. According to the Head Start website, in Florida, the cost per child is $6,342.

Several safety concerns then led to the closings of the centers. A company called CDI, Community Development Institute, is in charge of Head Start now, but several agencies and elected officials became involved to re-open the centers.

The decision was ultimately made by the head start program in Washington D.C.

"Our centers need to be open. You have every dime of the Head Start money. There's no reason to close the centers and kick the kids out," said State Senator Audrey Gibson, District 9.

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