Head Start preschoolers in eastern Alabama were told to stay home Tuesday and 240 employees were furloughed without pay after the U.S. government shut down for the first time in 17 years, MSNBC.com reported.
Though the preschool program for low-income families is operated locally, it relies in large part on federal grants awarded each year. For 23 Head Start programs in 11 states that service a combined 19,000 children, grant money rant out on Sept. 30, according to MSNBC.com. Some programs have alternative revenue sources and will remain open, but others will not. MSNBC.com notes that 770 preschoolers throughout the Cheaha region were told to stay home.
Automatic budget cuts known as sequestration cut $405 million out of Head Start funding in March. As a result, 57,000 children were dropped from the program nationwide.