Educators, lawmakers, parents, and advocates gathered Tuesday to ask for an increase in funding to the Head Start budget item.

Head Start provides early education and comprehensive services to the state’s most vulnerable children and families. The program offers family support, nutritional, health, and mental health services to families living below the poverty line. They serve children from zero to five years old and pregnant women.
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The organization is seeking a $1 million increase to the Head Start Supplemental Grant line item, taking it to $17.5 million. The hopeful investment will primarily go to address salaries.

“This would do the critical thing of keeping those teachers in the classroom, what that does for children is enormous, retention of teachers is what makes the difference for a child, to be able to have those continuous quality interactions with teachers that they know and love, who have stayed throughout the year and we need them to be able to stay, and we need to pay them what they deserve.”

For a Head Start classroom educator, the average salary was just over $39,000. Head Start has 29 agencies across the state and serves over 1,000 children in the greater Springfield area.

See video and article on WWLP.