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HEAD START PROGRAM FORCED TO CLOSE, BUS KIDS

SHARE HEAD START PROGRAM FORCED TO CLOSE, BUS KIDS

This month, the Hal J. Schultz Head Start Program in Salt Lake City will be honored by the Children's Defense Fund as a "model program."

Next month, it will close and the preschoolers who are enrolled in the future will be bused across town to a Head Start program in the Jordan School District.Head Start officials believe the move is necessary to deal with federal funding cuts. And most of the children who attend live in Salt Lake County, rather than Salt Lake City, according to executive director Marie Augustine.

But parents disagree. A number of them showed up for a meeting in Kearns to discuss the proposed change. Few were happy with suggestions that their preschoolers be bused across town.

The Head Start Program gives low-income preschoolers an educational head start to prepare for the public schools system.

Several parents, who asked that their names not be used, began a fax campaign Monday, contacting members of the media with information about the program's closure. They hope to launch a petition campaign to change the decision to bus the children.

Among their complaints is concern that low-income parents, many of them with serious transportation problems, won't be able to be involved with their children's schooling because it's so far away.

Head Start officials plan to hold a series of meetings with parents before July.