SCS: Head Start program will survive - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

SCS: Head Start program will survive

Board member Billy Orgel says, after $75 million in cuts from the county, it may not be a good idea for the school system to take on the program. Board member Billy Orgel says, after $75 million in cuts from the county, it may not be a good idea for the school system to take on the program.

(WMC-TV) - The Shelby County School Board Chairman said the school board will apply to take over the  Head Start program.

The Shelby County Commission discussed the agenda at 1:30 p.m. Monday.

At the last meeting, it was voted to stop funding Head Start and allow Shelby County Schools or another agency to take it over.

According to Head Start parent Stephanie Love, over than 3,000 people signed a petition to ask the county to run Head Start, if Shelby County Schools did not do so.

"There's been a lot of lying, conniving, deceitful things happening. The mayor has not given us an answer as to whether or not he will submit the grant," explained Love.

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell met with Porter Leath and the Shelby County Schools Monday.

"If the school system chose not to apply, we would probably not apply," stated Luttrell.

Luttrell made clear he believes, when county government runs a school readiness program for pregnant moms and children from birth to age five, it limits the program's growth.

The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees union voiced its concerns about what this will do to employees.

"They are under Shelby County. They recently became vested in this pension plan and it took then 7 1/2 years," said AFSCME representative Gail Tyree.

Commissioner Terry Roland said this is not about pensions, it is about allowing the program to grow.

"We've got to do what's best for the kids," explained Roland.

Commissioner Steve Mulroy proposed a resolution supporting the parents' petition for the county to take over, if the school system does not.

"We're setting it up where Porter Leath gets it by default without any competition," explained Mulroy.

The resolution failed by one vote.

Commissioner Henri Brooks, who initially proposed the school system take over, was absent Monday.

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