Take Two for May 29, 2013

Sequester cuts hit Monrovia Head Start program, others soon to follow

Options Head Start - 1

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Teacher Lawana teaches preschoolers Marissa Arellano, left, and Andrea Castaneda how to snap their fingers during the afternoon session at Options Head Start in Monrovia on Thursday, May 16.

Options Head Start - 2

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Andrea Castaneda sings to a song about a whale after lunchtime at Options Head Start. The school serves low-income families. With automatic federal cuts, the school is losing all 20 of their afternoon slots.

Options Head Start - 3

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Teacher Alma Becerra reads "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" to preschoolers. The program prepares kids for kindergarten in math, language, motor movement and building self-esteem.

Options Head Start - 4

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Teacher Angela Gonzalez sings a song with preschoolers before eating their lunch. Although there are other preschools in Monrovia, many families may fall under the income bracket for those schools.

Options Head Start - 5

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Kids pass food around the table for lunch. Each day teachers prepare a lunch with protein, vegetables and fruit.

Options Head Start - 6

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Diego Ramirez and his classmates at Options Head Start in Monrovia throw away their own plates after lunch.

Options Head Start - 7

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Kids wash their hands after lunch, have playtime and reading, then break up into groups. There are 20 slots for the morning session, but returning morning students will have priority.

Options Head Start - 8

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Samuel Rivera, left, and Daniel Sanchez finish their lunch with orange slices. If parents can't bring their child in the mornings, they will have to find another childcare for their kids.

Options Head Start - 9

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Ellyana Benitez, left, and Briana Melgar brush their teeth after lunch. More than two months after automatic federal spending cuts, Headstart is one of several categories feeling the squeeze in Southern California, including those receiving help in unemployment, housing, and researchers receiving federal funds.

Washington's sequester cuts have begun to reach local families. Head Start programs, which serve 110,ooo Californians, are starting to cut back. In the San Gabriel Valley, a Head Start agency will be forced to eliminate an afternoon preschool class in Monrovia because its funding was reduced.

In part two of our series on the across-the-board cuts to federal programs, KPCC's Deepa Fernandes visited the preschool class that won't exist come August.

SEE PART ONE: The sequester budget cuts: Southern California's needy begin to feel the effects


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