200 Idaho Head Start Students Could be Kicked Out
BOISE, Idaho (KTVB) -- Two hundred of Idaho's most vulnerable children could be kicked out of their Head Start classrooms this fall after the Legislature adjourned without passing a bill to bring the state into compliance with federal child support regulations.
The revelation is just the latest in a host of complications from Saturday's 9-8 vote to table the bill in the final hours of the legislative session. Lawmakers rejected the measure over concerns about federal overreach and the possibility of having to uphold Sharia law in international custody disputes.
The decision means Idaho won't receive $16 million in federal child support enforcement funding and will likely be ineligible for $30 million more in Temporary Assistance For Needy Families money.
TANF contributes $1.5 million dollars to Idaho's Head Start early education program. The program serves low-income families and gets preschool-aged children ready for kindergarten. Currently, about 5,000 students are enrolled in 13 Head Start programs across the state.
Two hundred of those spots are paid for through TANF funding. Shutting classroom doors to children whose families are already struggling to stay afloat could have severe consequences, Executive Director of Idaho Head Start Association Bill Foxcroft said Wednesday.