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Reno County Head Start offices moving

By Mary Clarkin

The Hutchinson News

Reno County Head Start family services offices are on the move -- again -- but the next home will complete the circle.

Offices are moving from a leased building at 317 W. Second Ave. to the Shirlie J. Hutcherson Center for Early Learning, 330 Charles, a school building where Head Start classes for children ages 3-5 are held.

The Head Start offices previously were at Hutcherson before relocating to 400 W. Second Ave., according to staff. They moved to the current space on West Second in July 2012.

There are only four staff members at West Second, and the site's expense, including utilities, amounted to about $30,000 a year, said Reno County Head Start program director Cindy Keeler.

Offices are being created in a classroom at Hutcherson, and the Hutchinson USD 308 school board tonight will vote on the proposed expenditure of $28,739 for office space materials for Head Start. That includes panels to create carrels, chairs and a vertical file.

Keeler's memo to the school board explains "end of the year funds" will be used to buy the furnishings.

A couple of early retirements contributed to savings in payroll, Keeler said. Head Start relies on federal funds, and money not spent by the end of the year has to be returned, she said. Further, she said, the government reduces future allocations to an agency when it sees unspent funds.

Desks, file cabinets and other office equipment have been moved from West Second to Hutcherson, but some chairs were more than 10 years old and in disrepair, according to Keeler.

The federal government's sequestration triggered spending cuts in 2013. That affected Head Start, which lost sites in the Fairfield and Haven school districts, and affected services in the Hutchinson school district. In January, President Barack Obama signed legislation that included more funds for Head Start and restored a 5.27 percent cut from sequestration.

Reno County Head Start has service sites in Hutchinson, Buhler and Nickerson-South Hutchinson school districts, reaching 317 children.

(c)2014 The Hutchinson News