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$10 Million Donation Will Reopen Head Start Preschools

Eight preschools in York and neighboring counties are among several pre-school centers across the country that will reopen Wednesday after a couple in Texas picked up the federal government’s $10 million tab. 

The Head Start schools in South Carolina closed Friday after not receiving their annual grant because of the partial shutdown.  Carolina Community Actions operates the centers that serve 860 low-income children.  The group’s director Walter Kellogg says the money from Laura and John Arnold will keep the center open through the end of the month.  That could total a $550,000 gift. 

"Parents are really relieved because this barrier of no childcare was huge, particularly if they were employed or in school or something.  We’ve got a lot of happy people right now," say Kellogg. 

Several other Head Start preschools across the country that have their annual paydays in October have the couple to thank.  According to the National Head Start Association, centers serving 7,000 children have closed due to the partial shutdown.  The group says the donation will reopen those and keep many more centers open through October.  If lawmakers decide to refund agencies for the days during the shutdown, the couple will get their money back. 

Lisa Worf traded the Midwest for Charlotte in 2006 to take a job at WFAE. She worked with public TV in Detroit and taught English in Austria before making her way to radio. Lisa graduated from University of Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in English.