Home » Opinion » Editorials
Shallow cuts: Efficiency at Head Start
Jeanne Agri of Southern New Hampshire Services, using the same talking points as her counterparts in other Head Start programs across America, told the Union Leader that a 5 percent cut in federal funding means closure for Head Start in Hudson and Newmarket. Cuts are planned in Hampton Falls.
"We need to pay attention to what this means to families and to children," Agri warned. She's right. Let's do so.
None of those three programs was full. Hudson serves just 18 pre-school students. They will be given priority for acceptance into the unaffected Nashua program barely one mile away. That's a four minute drive. Only 15 Newmarket area children are in Head Start.
They may be reassigned to nearby Epping or Portsmouth. The program in wealthy Hampton Falls was larger than needed, so cuts there were probably overdue. In all, a few families may be inconvenienced, but an extensive program serving needy children in Hillsborough and Rockingham counties remains firmly in place.
Although the value of its services is not clear, Head Start has long been politically untouchable. Before the sequester, spending rose year after year even though research from liberals and conservatives showed that it is a well-intentioned boondoggle with no measurable lasting impact on the children it serves. Even with the 5 percent cut, its federal budget is higher than in Fiscal 2011. Next year, spending in New Hampshire will still be nearly $14 million.
Agri defends Head Start's goals of school readiness and family self-sufficiency. "If there wasn't a need, we wouldn't have any waiting lists," she argued. That's not so. Free government benefits are generally over-subscribed, even if the program is not truly needed.
She said sequestration forced SNHS's board to analyze demographics and "painfully" determine which towns and cities have the highest need for service. Good. That's what every responsible private company and non-profit organization ought to do at budget time. If these tough, fair decisions would not have been made otherwise, across-the-board budget cuts were indeed overdue.
The service reductions planned by SNHS are neither arbitrary nor deep. They provide more proof that while the sequester is not the ideal way to control inefficient spending, it works.
READER COMMENTS: 2
- Charles Krauthammer: Ebola vs. civil liberties - 0
- Wayne F. Lesperance Jr.: Republicans are poised to win the Senate... maybe - 2
- George Will: The fictitious war on women - 0
- Thomas Sowell: Irresponsible 'education' - 3
- Our Constitution is crumbling and few seem to care - 4
- Can the administration handle an outbreak as well as Hollywood thinks it can? - 6
- George Will: Tackled by the speech police - 1
- Another View -- Steve Merrill: NH needs Walt Havenstein's Pledge 2.0 - 2
- NH's fantasy budgeting has got to end - 4
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Husband of Salem babysitter sentenced to additional time in second sex abuse case - 0
- Keene police working to identify rioters, notify other colleges of students’ participation - 0
- Man arrested as police investigate shots fired in Manchester - 0
- Alibaba Market robbed; scratch tickets taken from Crosstown Variety on Manchester's West Side - 0
- Hearing postponed for fire official facing harrassment charges in Londonderry - 0
- Bedford woman injured when tree falls on her - 0
- Nashua man accused of choking woman - 0
- High School Football Power Poll: Some shufflling below the top four - 0
- Nigeria declared Ebola-free by WHO after containing virus - 3
Keene State College students clean up after mayhem, say weekend riots were not their fault
Keene Pumpkin Festival has uncertain future
Monitoring social media
On Obamacare: Shaheen doesn't get it
Shaheen, in Hooksett, rallies with union
On Obamacare: Shaheen doesn't get it
What rising tide? Kuster vs. Kennedy
After riots, soul-searching begins