A $7.2 million grant from California’s Department of Health and Human Services will allow the Montebello Unified School District to administer its Head Start Program for the next five years, the District has announced.
Budgetary constraints will no longer hamper MUSD’s low-income early childhood program, which during the 2013-2014 school year forced MUSD to cut the number of Head Start classes offered by the District.
The five-year grant was awarded following a competitive application process which resulted in the MUSD being the first school district in Los Angeles County to be funded.
The grant will become available during the 2014-2015 school year that starts on July 1.
Recent changes to federal regulations allowed potential providers like MUSD to compete for federal funding to provide services to low-income students too young to attend elementary school. The grant will allow MUSD to work directly with the Office of Head Start, bypassing the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE).
“Being able to have control over how we provide these early learning programs to our young children will be critical to the success they have when they enroll in our schools,” Montebello Unified Superintendent Susanna Contreras Smith said. “We couldn’t be more pleased about this grant and we will use these funds to continue nurturing and supporting the intellectual and emotional growth of these young minds for years to come.”
MUSD’s Head Start Program provides services to nearly 900 students ranging in age from 4 weeks to 5 years old at 11 schools throughout the district.
“It is our priority to give our students the best possible start in life by preparing them for success in elementary school and beyond,” said Superintendent Cleve Pell.
The Head Start/Early Learning Program offers services to low-income families who either receive CalWorks or meet federal low-income guidelines and live within the school district.