DETROIT (WWJ) – The federally funded Head Start program in Detroit Public Schools will be forced to shut down next year because the district failed to get its application in on time.
School officials admit they mistakenly missed the deadline, but said they plan to accommodate the thousands of students by expanding its state-funded pre-K program.
Detroit School Board President, Lamar Lemmons, called the missed-deadline a travesty.
“Our next step is to … go to court to seek an injunction … and to have the emergency manager removed. I haven’t heard anyone being terminated so if it’s gross incompetence then heads should be flying and personnel should be losing their job,” said Lemmons.
“Thousands, not hundreds, will not be able to participate – the district is going to attempt to supplement it with the pre-K system that we do have, but it makes no sense, again, I had to read about it as well, because the Emergency Manager has not conveyed this information to us.”
DPS spokesman, Steve Wasko said the district tried to appeal the decision.
“And at the end of the day we simply weren’t successful. At the end of the day the deadline was missed and we have to adhere to that,” said Wasko. “But the good news is that there is no reduction in programing at all – there is an increase in programing.”
Wasko said they don’t expect to see a decrease in seats for pre-K students, but instead an increase and noted that they also expect to retain all Head Start teachers.
Head Start is a federal program that promotes the school readiness of children ages birth to 5 from low-income families by enhancing their cognitive, social and emotional development.