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All Jacksonville Head Start Facilities To Re-Open Wednesday

UPDATE 5/20/13: After holding a news conference this morning to announce that 16 of 24 Head Start facilities would re-open this week, those involved apparently decided that wasn't enough. A news release from the Florida Department of Children and Families says all of the Head Start facilities in Jacksonville will now re-open.

From the news release:

“What parents need to know is that it will be business as usual at these facilities. All children who were attending a Head Start facility will be able to attend the same Head Start facility starting this Wednesday,” said Congresswoman Corrine Brown. “It was important for all of the agencies and officials involved in these discussions to help all of the children who have been attending the Head Start programs. We wanted to make sure that every child could go to the same facility that they have been going to.”

DCF said the Federal Head Start program in Washington D.C. made the decision to re-open all of the centers. The Federal Government suspended the Jacksonville Urban League's management of the program in April and brought in an outside management company, Community Development Institute. CDI then announced last week it was shutting down the school year early due to safety concerns. The programs closed on Friday, displacing about 1,500 children. David Abramowitz, Regional Managing Director for the Department of Children and Families said today he is not worried about the safety  of children returning to the Head Start facilities. Once the program begins again on Wednesday, it will stay open until June 7, which is the original end date for the school year.

This post has been updated to include the latest information. You can read the original post below:

About 1,500 children affected by the closure of Head Start programs on Friday will be able to return to class this week. According to a news release from the Florida Department of Children and Families, 16 Head Start facilities will re-open on Wednesday, May 22. The release said the continuation of the program is due to a collaboration of politicians and government agencies and listed those involved:

  • Congresswoman Corrine Brown,
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Florida State Senator Audrey Gibson
  • The Early Learning Coalition
  • Duval County Public Schools
  • Former State Senator Tony Hill, representing Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown
  • Florida Department of Children and Families

Most of the children will be able to go back to the center they've attended all year, but the following schools will not re-open:

  • Head Start at Greater Grant Memorial, 5533 Gilchrist Road
  • Head Start at Happyland Center, 1577 West 26th Street
  • Head Start at The Bridge, 320 West 8th Street
  • Head Start at Hilltop Village, 1646 West 45th Street
  • Head Start at Shands, 2052 Jefferson Street
  • Head Start at Southwind Villas, 8711 Newton Road
  • Head Start at Edward Waters College, 1626 Grunthal Street

Head Start officials will contact families with students at those locations so that they can make other arrangements. According to the news release, the facilities that are re-opening have the capacity to serve roughly the same number of students displaced last week. The re-opened facilities will stay open until June 7, which was originally scheduled as the last day of school.
Congresswoman Corrine Brown will provide more details at a news conference tomorrow morning.