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Head Start students return to class

5:49 PM, Sep 3, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A cloud is finally lifting from the Head Start program in the city.

Jacob Pierce, 4, is thrilled to finally be going back to school.

"I was going to get my brand new teacher and new friends," he said with enthisiasm.

He knows exactly what he wants to learn along with his Head Start classmates.

"I want to learn colors and numbers," Jacob said.

Thirteen centers opened Tuesday, but the National Head Start office decided to keep seven locations closed because of health and safety concerns. Jacob's mother, Shauna, said he attended the Old Stanton Center last year.

"I've been trying to talk him into it," Shauna said. "He's not quite understanding why his school was closed."

After years of running the facilities, the Jacksonville Urban League had to give up management, because issues were not being addresed. Now, a private company helps run the facilities.

In a detailed overview of findings the United States Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Head Start found significant mold and mildew in The Old Stanton Center and underground sewage leaking in to the building on the ground floor of the Northeast Springfield location.

The Florida Department of Children and Families revoked the license of the Springfield location in May 2013 for three violations, according to a spokesperson. Those violations included leaving a three-year-old on a bus all day long without food or supervision.

Jacksonville's Urban League was given time to correct the issues. The Pierce's are just ready to start the new year fresh.

"We're excited," she said. "I'm really happy with head start. My 4-year-old is reading. So, I'm very excited."

According to Head Start's website, you may be income restricted to be head start eligible.

You can still find a center for your child just call 1-866-763-6481 or go to Head Start's website.

First Coast News

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