BUFFALO, NY -- Sequestration is being blamed for cutting $400 million to the budget for Head Start and Early Start programs. In Erie County, there are about 35 Head Start programs -- serving over 2,000 kids.
"We work with kids to make sure they're school ready and we also help families," program support manager Chelsea White said.
Erie County Head Start had to scale back $1.4 million dollars because of the federal cuts. 93 local families had to be turned away from programs, transportation was eliminated, 9 teachers were cut, and 217 staff members received furlough days.
"We're cutting from the neediest of the neediest population that we have," White said. "When we cut programs, we're also cutting away at communities."
"You are talking about a situation where only one out of eight eligible kids in Erie County can get head start in the first place, CAO Executive Director Nathan Hare said. "There's just not enough money to do it -- now we've cut it down even more so what do those parents do."
Currently, 700 hundred local families are on a waiting list for Head Start and Early Start programs in Erie County. Nathan Hare feels kids are paying the price for politics.
"Kids Can't vote and the parents of the kids who can't vote are powerless -- while people who are powerful -- they find a way to get their stuff accomplished," Hare said.