The grant to run the local Head Start program will be split, with the majority going to Toledo Public Schools and the rest to a Pittsburgh-based, for-profit early education and child-care provider, according to U.S. lawmakers.
A TPS-led community collaborative will receive $8.1 million to serve 1,126 children, while Brightside Academy will receive nearly $5 million to serve 455 children, according to U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur’s office.
Additionally, TPS will receive $5.2 million this summer, with $1 million of that start-up funds, and the rest bridge funding until December; Brightside will receive $3.1 million, with $600,000 of that start-up funding, Miss Kaptur’s office said.
The federal government will disburse the $13 million in December to the two agencies.
The government announced in late August that Toledo would be part of a national pilot initiative, expanding its local Head Start program to offer services for children from birth through age 5. Under the grant split, TPS will serve 1,034 Head Start students and 92 Early Head Start students, while Brightside will serve 347 Head Start students and 108 Early Head Start children.
“Strengthening Head Start and, for the first time in Lucas County, launching Early Head Start are new foundation stones for our community,” said Miss Kaptur, a Democrat from Toledo.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which administers the program, confirmed the grant awards Tuesday.
A TPS spokesman said the district had received no confirmation from HHS about the status of the grant, and a Brightside representative did not return a message Tuesday.
“This is excellent news for Lucas County families and their children,” U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) said. “Head Start and Early Head Start ensure that children have the skills they need to succeed in elementary school and beyond.”
The local Head Start program was one of dozens that HHS put up for competition in 2011 for the first time. None of the bidders, which included the Economic Opportunity Planning Association of Greater Toledo and TPS, was selected. The U.S. government bid it out again late last year.
Community Development Institute of Denver was given the grant on an interim basis while the federal government went through the bidding process. It’s unclear how many of CDI’s 280 employees will be hired by TPS and Brightside.
The local collaborative is led by TPS and includes EOPA, the WSOS Community Action Agency, the Lucas County Family Council, the YMCA and JCC of Greater Toledo, and the Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West. The group’s goal has been to return local control to Head Start.
“Those of us who have worked long and hard to begin to re-establish local control of these important federal resources know that the community goal is always a better educated citizenry,” Miss Kaptur said.
Keith Burwell, president of the Toledo Community Foundation, said the collaborative is applying for additional Early Head Start funds.