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Help for Head Start on the Way

Help for Head Start on the Way
March 07
08:17 2018

The Navajo Nation’s beleaguered Head Start program is getting a jump start.

Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye an emergency bill that would provide $6.3 million to the program.

The money will keep Head Start open despite a recent setback in federal court.

Head Start had sought an injunction to prevent the National Head Start program from lopping more than $6 million from the Navajo program’s $23 million budget.

But the District Court for the District of Columbia ruled against the tribe.

National Head Start is funded through the federal Department of Health and Human Services. The national program justified its actions by pointing out that Navajo Head Start still had unspent funds.

The court denied the tribe’s injunction request, noting that Navajo Head Start was no facing irreparable harm due to the budget cut. Under the court decision the tribe’s Head Start program will receive $15.8 million in federal funds.

“We have yet to receive any notice of any award from the federal government and I am disappointed in this decision,” President Begaye said. “Because the federal government has chosen to not provide the necessary funds, the Nation was forced to introduce emergency legislation to keep our children and teachers in the classroom and our Head Start buses providing necessary transportation.”

Begaye called the unspent funds argument “misleading.”

The Navajo Nation will continue to fight for the extra money, Begaye said.

“This decision was unfair and misleading,” Begaye added.

The make sure the Navajo Head Start program continues without interruption, the tribe will allocate emergency funding, the president said.

“I will not allow a lapse in service for our children, and I intend to hold the federal government accountable to the Navajo Nation,” Begaye said.

 

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