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SANTA ANA : School District Votes to Seek Federal Aid to Continue Head Start

The governing board of the Santa Ana Unified School District has narrowly voted to seek $985,000 from the federal government to continue its Head Start preschool program for the 1995-96 school year.

The Board of Education voted 3 to 2 last week to request funding to continue the program, with Trustees Audrey Yamagata-Noji, Robert W. Balen and Sal Mendoza supporting the plan and Trustees Rosemarie Avila and Tom Chaffee opposing it.

“Without a doubt, this program is beneficial. To talk about yanking it out of out schools is a very big mistake,” Balen said.

The program is designed to offer 323 low-income 3- to 5-year-olds and their parents instruction to improve their cognitive, social and physical development. However, Avila questioned whether the program is cost-effective and Chaffee stated that children would be better off at home spending time with their parents.

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Balen responded that “this program is not a matter of greed, it’s a matter of need.”

He said the education the program offers enables children to start school at a normal level of preparedness that they might otherwise lack because of their economic status. The program aids their parents as well by providing English and other instruction.

“We’re talking about families that don’t have books in the home, whose parents are often illiterate. We’re talking about families in poverty,” he said.


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