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Holden Criticizes Plan To Shift Head Start Obligations

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(KWMU staff photo)
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Gov. Bob Holden visits a North St. Louis City Head Start center Thursday.

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, MO –
A bill before the U.S. House of Representatives would require states to take over the Head Start program, which has been federally funded since 1965. Governor Holden says though the Bush administration proposes giving states block grants, he fears the federal government will gradually reduce Missouri's annual amount:

"It's much easier to reduce the funding on a block grant program than if it's truly a partnership," Holden said. "We continue to see our young population continue to grow and expand into these programs, but if they reduce the amount of funding, that means you're doing less funding per child than what they're committed to today. And that's how they dismantle these programs."

In 2002, Head Start served more than 18,000 low income preschool children in Missouri.

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