2012-08-24 / Top Stories

Beach 71 Street Head Start To Close

By Miriam Rosenberg

At a press conference held by the office of Senator Shirley Huntley it was learned that the Head Start program on Beach 71 Street would soon be closing its doors.

According to sources, Huntley, who called the press but did not appear, seemed to blame the closure of the program at 71-15 Beach Channel Drive on the lack of monetary help by Councilman James Sanders Jr. (who is challenging Huntley for her Senate seat in the Democratic primary in September).

Sanders’ chief of staff, Donovan Richards, who was at the press conference, refuted that.

“We restored $291,000 to the city universal pre-K budget [for that Head Start],” said Richards. He added “that the federal government did not renew the universal pre-K grant [for that location] leaving it $390,000 short.”

A statement by Richards literally accuses Huntley of playing politics with the Head Start program.

“We should not use political gamesmanship and play with our kids’ futures based on politics,” said Richards.

In an email to The Wave, a spokesperson for the city’s Administration for Children’s Services said the following:

“EarlyLearn NYC will invest $550 million annually in early care and education for families and children in greatest need across the city, transforming the system for the first time in fifty years. ACS is working with all eligible families at centers that did not receive an award to help them identify new early care and education options.”

The agency did not respond to a follow-up email asking questions specific to the Head Start on Beach 71 Street.

Huntley’s office did not respond to The Wave’s attempt, by phone and email, to get comment for this article.

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