Sequestration: Students could see cuts to school readiness programs

The Early Learning Coalition of Southwest Florida

The Early Learning Coalition of Southwest Florida

Subsidies for families to put their children in school readiness programs face cuts that could put access out of reach for 1,600 Florida youth, with the effects possibly felt locally.

Local officials have been told by the state to expect an 8.8 percent cut in the subsidy, said Susan Block, CEO of the Early Learning Coalition of Southwest Florida.

Still, Block remains optimistic that local children won’t be disenrolled from programs, in large part due to savings from a new subcontractor and a recent bump in state funding. The coalition has trimmed its waiting list for service in half, from about 6,000 to 3,000, and hopes not to find itself going in reverse.

“We absolutely do not want to be responsible for putting children and families out of their improvement plan,” Block said.

The subsidies help parents hold down jobs, boosting local economies, advocates say.

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