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Head Start seeks BOE assistance

The staff of the Head Start program in Hiltonia has requested the Screven County Schools System for the use of two classrooms and meal service for its young students.

During public participation at the board’s recent monthly meeting, Reba Virden, the Head Start director, said the need for the rooms is a majority of her 3-year-old students live in Sylvania and not Hiltonia.

The school board June 8 chose to table a decision on the matter until its members could discuss the request fully.

For years, it was appropriate for Head Start to be based in the in the northwest part of the county because of the proximity of the children, but that that has changed.

“We all serve the same families,” Virden told the board. “We (Head Start) are now housed in Hiltonia, but most are students serviced are in Sylvania.

“In order for us to maintain good attendance, we would have to take them to Hiltonia,” said Virden of possible transportation challenges. “In order to keep afloat, your numbers count. That is the main reason.”

Virden, noting that ScrevenCounty allowed Head Start to occupy classrooms 37 years ago, said her program would need two rooms for the estimated 30 three-year-olds. Meals also would be required for the children.

Currently, students in ScrevenCounty schools receive free breakfast and lunches because the federal government has deemed the county to be below the poverty line.

Head Start, Virden said, also would need to transport its playground equipment from Hiltonia. The program has age-appropriate equipment for small children, said Virden, who was accompanied at the meeting by Head Start teacher Rosie Wright.

The Head Start program provides grants to local public and private non-profit and for-profit agencies to provide comprehensive child development services to economically disadvantaged children and families, with a special focus on helping preschoolers develop the early reading and math skills they need to be successful in school.