Pre-K students caught in middle of government shutdown

RAYTOWN, Mo. - Congress' budget fight is starting to affect the pre-k students in some metro schools. Now they are left wondering how much longer they will be able to go to school.

The government shutdown is about to shut down payments to some federally-funded Head Start pre-K classes like Herndon Preschool in Raytown School District.

The program helps prepare financially-strapped children under the age of five for kindergarten.

"Pre-kindergarten is now more like kindergarten and kindergarten is now a lot like first grade," Herndon Coordinator Tara Baker said.

When November rolls around and payments stop, the Raytown School District will have to fill in the gap, not knowing if the district will ever be federally refunded.

"[The] American people are still resilient we will continue to offer an education whether the folks in Washington decide to play nice with one another. We will continue to do what we do here and that's educate kids," Superintendent Dr. Allan Markley said.
        
That means the district will pay for everything the government usually does, from salaries to the children's salad at lunch.

Dozens of Head Start programs across the nation have been affected. Seven of them, mainly in southern states like Alabama and Florida, had been forced to close until a wealthy Texas couple donated $10 million to keep the programs open for a few weeks.

At Herndon, teachers know they are lucky because children will be able to continue to go to school where they are learning a lot, but luckily have learned nothing of the effects of a government shutdown.

"Luckily we can just focus on not what's going on in the government,  just the kids and the education," Baker said.

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