On January 27, 2011, Frederick County Maryland's County Commissioners voted to cut the county's share of the federal Head Start program effective March 1. This action will cut the program roughly in half. It will affect 50 teachers, 30 support staff, and 280 poor children (3-5 year olds from families that fall below the federal poverty line). The program has existed for four decades. Jobs will end on March 1.
Adding insult to injury, the commissioners advised mothers to stay married and stay home with their children and not hold jobs outside the home.
Head Start staff to lose their Frederick County jobs March 1
County commissioners to vote Tuesday to relinquish funding to federal program in Frederick to close budget gap
February 8, 2011
Frederick News Post
County looks to hand over reins of Head Start to save $2 million
Frederick pulls Head Start funding
Two commissioners advise parents to stay married and stay home to raise their children; staff prepares to lose their jobs March 1
Frederick County officials under fire for 'sexist' comments
February 9, 2011
Women outraged over Frederick commissioners' comments
Two advise parents to stay married; women at home to raise their children
February 10, 2011
The wrong way to privatize
Head Start cuts in Frederick County come with controversial comments
Commissioners seem to say women should stay home
February 11, 2011
Frederick News Post Letter to the Editor
Smith's remarks about women's roles dismaying
Frederick Head Start parents speak out against funding cut
Federal contractor tells parents the program will continue with as little disruption as possible
Frederick, Md. Residents Express Anger Over County Commissioners
America was built on hope for a better future. As citizens, we have the opportunity to create our own destiny, based on equal opportunity, especially in education.
On January 27, 2011, you voted to cut county funding for the federal Headstart preschool program, a proven and effective tool to educate children from the most disadvantaged families. These 280 students and their families will feel the effect of reductions in Head Start, and these are people who are among the most vulnerable (3-5 year olds from families that fall below the federal poverty line).
When commissioners realized in 2010 that the county faced a deficit in the funding for fire and rescue services, they formed a task force involving emergency personnel to explore the issue and offer suggestions. The result was a thoughtful report that involved stakeholders, and looked at options beyond simple cuts, including the sale of surplus equipment. While the process is not complete and difficult decisions remain to be made, at least commissioners acted publicly.
You did not follow the same process for Head Start. Restore the funding immediately and find another approach to balance the budget.