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Denmark Headstart to Close Due to Sequestration

By Natalie Potts
By npotts@wbbjtv.com

MADISON COUNTY, Tenn.- Parents and Teachers at Northwest Tennessee Denmark Headstart are upset the school is set to close next week due to mandatory federal budget cuts.

"It's not fair at all not to the kids I mean they need their education and without this what are we going to do?' I mean we can't afford daycare and we can barely get by the way the economy is," said parent Charlotte Nanney."

School officials told WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News the school is looking to reduce their staff and relocate to another location. Officials said this year's sequestration cuts are expected to range more than 5 percent of the Northwest Tennessee Headstart's budget, which totals more than $600,000 in lost revenue.

"It's frustrating. Iit is, especially when you know parents need programs like this because were a good program," said Bernita Perry, Denmark Headstart Central Coordinator. "Our hands are tied with budget cuts."

Perry said the Headstart is a non-profit school helping families struggling with poverty to focus on education. Some employees will be reassigned to the Headstart in Washington Douglas location. Perry said there spots will also be made for Denmark students.

"Some of the teachers aren't sure they have a place to go and they've been here forever and the students love them," said parent Christa Brown.

Parents said their main concern is that bus transportation will not be offered for any student at Washington Douglas. Parents said they depend on the bus to get their children to school.

"There is actually a lot of people out here that have got kids and they're fixing to lose it all," said Nanney.

A budget cut proposal for the Fayette County Headstart is currently under review but nothing has been approved at this time. Headstart officials said they are happy to help the families through this transition. To get more information on resources that could help effected families, call Bernita Perry at (731) 427-6244.