On Wednesday, the budget battle raged on in Washington. If a resolution isn’t agreed upon soon, hundreds of Head Stars families in and around Atlanta could be affected. The partial government shutdown could potentially close local Head Start pre-K classes and affect hundreds of students if it continues past Friday, Oct. 4. Parents have received notice about the possible closure and were urged to seek alternate childcare options in case the government shutdown continues.
According to WXIA in Atlanta, the Head Start shutdown would affect 2,200 families in Georgia. Nationwide, the government shutdown affects 19,000 families in 11 states. Some of the centers facing closure are located in the Metro Atlanta area, while others are in more rural areas, making it harder for parents to find alternate options. Head Start also has programs for disabled children that would be cut until the federal budget showdown is resolved. The paychecks of 500 Head Start employees are also at risk.
“The Herald” said that letters sent to parents state, “No children will be in attendance and staff is not to report to work” after Friday. Kim Gray, site manager at the Rock Hill Head Start Center stated, “Quite often, the people whose children attend here do not have other options for child care. This affects the children and staff, but it also affects every family, if the impasse is not fixed.”
On Wednesday, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal spoke to the media and stated, “We feel like as long as this is resolved before the end of this month, we will be able to handle anything without any significant interruption.” He added that if the congressional fight extends to the debt ceiling debate, it's an entirely different ball game.
Fox News posted on Wednesday, “While the effects of the partial government suspension are starting to be felt, one thing's for sure: The budget stalemate woes would pale in comparison to the fallout from an impasse over the debt ceiling.” The deadline for raising the debt ceiling is Oct. 17. A failure to raise it could cause shock waves far worse than the current government shutdown.
In the meantime, the government shutdown continues to affect families in Georgia. According to WSB-TV, 77,000 Georgians are currently not receiving pay. Atlanta-based CDC is operating with a skeleton crew and weekly flu outbreak reports have been stopped. In addition, the historic MLK site, including Ebenezer Baptist Church, the Visitors’ Center and Dr. King’s birth house remain closed. Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park and the Chattahoochee River National Recreational area are also closed to the public.
For an in-depth list of what’s open and what’s closed during the government shutdown, head to CBS Local.
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