Local mom fights to save pre-school program

Published On: Sep 15 2012 05:20:12 PM PDT   Updated On: Sep 17 2012 10:42:15 AM PDT
Local mom fights to save pre-school program
SPOKANE, Wash. -

A Spokane mom is on a mission to save a pre-school program for low income and disabled children.

Next week, Jen Ross, a parent advocate with Washington Association of Head Start and ECEAP, will be flying to Washington D.C. to meet with Senator Maria Cantwell (D), Senator Patty Murray (D) and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R).

Last year, lawmakers failed to make $1.2 trillion dollars in cuts.  Because an agreement was not reached, across the board cuts will go into effect January 2nd.  Funding to Head Start and other educational programs are expected to be reduced by 8-percent.

According to the Washington Association of Head Start 1,400 children will be affected by the cuts.  In Spokane, 69 children will no longer qualify for the preschool.

Ross knows first hand the impacts of Head Start in a child's life.  Ross' 6-year old son, Caleb, has cerebral palsy and spent three years in the Head Start.

"It was just, it was what we needed," said Jen Ross.

"It was a great relief to our family.  He was able to start kindergarten on track with his peers and ready to learn," she said.

Caleb not only learned the alphabet during school, he also met with a physical therapist to learn ways to become more independent.

Ross plans to share Caleb's success story to convince lawmakers to find another way to balance the budget.

"I support a balanced budget too but not at the cutting these programs that serve our most vulnerable children low income disabled need and rely on to better themselves," she said.

Calls to Sen. Patty Murray, and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers were not returned.

Sen. Cantwell released this statement saying "we need to move forward on a serious deficit reduction plan that avoids automatic sequestration cuts.

This plan should make government more effective by cutting waste, continue investing in proven jobs programs, and reduce the deficit by bringing troops home from Afghanistan and eliminating $20 billion in subsidies to big oil companies."