EDEN — Longtime Head Start staffers have their jobs back and administrators are poised to discuss the federal program's start-up budget on Tuesday, according to Rockingham County Schools.
Some 61 Head Start staff members had endured a spring and summer of limbo while federal grant providers decided whether to allow Rockingham County Schools to administrate the $1.5 million federal early learning program.
After grant overseers in early July awarded the right to RCS, those staffers reapplied for their posts within the county’s 14 Head Start classrooms in Eden, Reidsville, Draper, Wentworth, Stoneville, Madison, Ruffin and Williamsburg.
The school district takes over the program just over a year after its oversight was relinquished by county government.
The board of commissioners began exploring the potential of relinquishing the grant oversight prior to the consolidation of the county’s social services and health departments in 2013.
Prior to the commission's vote, Rockingham County was the only county in the state providing general oversight of their Head Start program.
The Rockingham County Board of Education has called a special conference call meeting on Tuesday afternoon to approve a start-up budget for the county's Head Start program.
About 250 disadvantaged youngsters, ages 3-5, are expected to attend the county Head Start program this fall, administrators estimate.
Head Start serves more than one million kids across the nation annually, and offers families resources, such as emotional and psychological support and financial and health and nutrition education.
The school system took over administration of Head Start after the county government decided to bow out of the role at the end of the 2018-2019 school year and make it available to administrators with more expertise in education.
RCS Assistant Superintendent for Support Services Dr. Cindy Corcoran will take the lead in administration of Head Start for a county in which 60 percent of all youngsters live in low-income homes and only one-third of kids enter kindergarten with benchmark skills needed to succeed, data shows.
Andrea Barker will continue in her role as interim director for the program, according to Karen Hyler, public information officer for RCS.
Head Start is currently taking applications for students who would like to attend the program in the fall.
For more information, call 336-349-4762.