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Stimulus funds going to local Head Starts
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MONROE - Dane County Parent Council, Inc. (DCPC), provider of Head Start and Early Head Start in Dane and Green counties, is receiving federal stimulus money to expand comprehensive early childhood services beginning in 2010.

Funding will bring about $1.7 million in the first year, for costs including startup and new employment opportunities, and $1.2 million for ongoing operations.

Head Start is a federally-funded program for preschool-age children from low-income households. Early Head Start focuses on the support of pregnant mothers and their children up to age 3.

The expansion will permit DCPC to employ 30 new staff members and serve 122 additional families.

Thirty-six preschool openings will be in Madison and Sun Prairie.

The remaining 86 openings are in Early Head Start for young families with infant and toddlers in Madison, Middleton, Stoughton, Sun Prairie and Green County; CDPC has 17 Head Start locations.

The Monroe School District, citing a pattern of communication problems with Head Start administration, ended its agreement with Head Start for the 2008-2009 school year. It is back in Monroe after a one-year absence.

Ten children are enrolled in Head Start's 4-year-old kindergarten program and an additional six children are in its preschool program, said Tina Van Meer, principal at Abraham Lincoln Accelerated Learning Academy, where Monroe Head Start is located. Head Start employs its own staff; they are not school district employees.

Parent Council Executive Director Marcia Huemoeller said the competitive awards are based on documented need of young children and families, and the capacity of DCPC to provide exemplary comprehensive early childhood education and supportive services to families.

The grants are administered by the federal Office of Head Start.

Job opportunities with DCPC and Head Start can be found at Two Green County openings are listed there for Family Advocate and Bilingual Family Advocate. Contact Head Start in Monroe at (608) 328-7824.