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After 53 years, organization operating Nevada Head Start will lose contract

Regional office decides to move on

Vernon County Head Start

NEVADA, Mo. - After 53 years a Southwest Missouri organization will no longer manage head start services for Vernon County. The West Central Missouri Community Action Agency announced it's head start contract will end on June 30th.

Every five years, grants are issued for agencies to operate head start centers in regions across the United States. In October, the new cycle was started and the West Central Missouri Community Action Agency, which serves nine counties, including Vernon County, applied, as they have, for the past 53 years, and got the response they expected. Chris Thompson, President and CEO, West Central Missouri Community Action Agency says "The scoring had been completed for the grants for the applications and that we were eligible for negotiation of our grant."

But then, a week after they received a confidentiality agreement to begin grant negotiations, the Office of Head Start contacted them, and told them they weren't the top scorer, and they would not be moving forward with their grant after all. Thompson says "Another agency, we're not quite sure who that was, applied for three of our nine counties, and that there were six counties that there was no other applicant, but, that they would not be moving forward with us for those six counties."

Now, they've been told another company that manages head start facilities on a temporary basis will be taking over the six counties until another agency can be found, and the Office of Head Start from Washington, D.C. will be in Clinton, Missouri on Tuesday the 21st to explain to parents what's going to happen. Thompson says "That's not what they'll be able to answer to because someone out of Denver, Colorado that's going to be here to make decisions as to how they operate in this region in addition to these other three counties by some other provider."

Thompson says they plan to hold their own meeting in Clinton to meet with parents to discuss their concerns and the future of the head start program in the West Central region.

The West Central meeting is at 5:00 pm at the Elk's Lodge building in Clinton on May 21. The Head Start's meeting in Clinton is at 6:00 pm in the Delozier building on the Clinton Square the same day.


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