Sequester cuts force closure of Lexington Head Start

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Most days, the classrooms inside the Woodhill Child Development Center are buzzing.

"This used to be filled with 20 four-year-olds who were making lots of noise and having lots of fun," said Charlie Lanter of the Community Action Council.

Instead, there's the sound of time ticking away.

"Officially August 1, we will be out of here, we will be shut down," said Lanter.

The effects of the federal sequester are now reaching the Community Action Council. They say their Head Start program here in Central Kentucky has lost about $600,000 in funding. That's forcing the closure of this facility, plus cuts in the number of children enrolled in other ones around the area.

"You know, this is sequestration. This is the cuts. This is the impact of federal budget cuts. Packed boxes, quiet classrooms," said Lanter.

There will be places for these children at other facilities and Community Action Council officials will provide transportation, but for low-income children just reaching the Head Start age, there will be fewer spots.

"Some of these kids, if they didn't come to a center like this, wouldn't get three meals a day. When I look at those dolls or those easels, I know there's a kid out there somewhere who should be playing with that," said Lanter.

All the toys, books, and materials will go to other locations. Officials hope they'll one day be back in Woodhill if the funding is restored.