Stimulus Dollars for Wisconsin’s Head Start and Early Head Start Programs

On April 2, 2009, the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services provided some guidance to states on the Head Start funding increases included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. You can read the full announcement here. It was estimated that programs in Wisconsin will receive a total of $4,464,745 for Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) and $5,242,867 for quality improvement initiatives. According to the department, “COLA increases are to be used to pay for higher operating costs and to increase staff salaries and fringe benefits” whereas quality dollars can be used for things like offsetting professional development costs, improving physical environments of programs, and transportation. At least 50% of quality dollars must be used to improve the wages and benefits of employees so that high-quality professionals can be recruited and retained in the programs. The 54 Head Start programs across the state will be contacted and provided with their individual funding amounts in the near future. The department announced that guidance around the $1.1 billion in the stimulus package for Early Head Start expansion will come in a separate communication.

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