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Local News

April 24, 2013

Local day care sees sequester axe

Thirty-two families that receive day care services from Opportunities for Otsego will lose them as a result of spending cuts directly created by the federal sequestration law, agency Chief Executive Daniel Maskin said Tuesday.

The cuts, 4.9 to 5.1 percent to the federal Head Start program and 10 percent to a federal community block grant administered by the state of New York, total $160,000 to $170,000 and are “purely the result of the sequester,” Maskin said, adding that the agency would be forced to eliminate eight jobs.

“Our elected public officials once again are trying to solve the nation’s financial problems on the backs of poor and working families,” Maskin said.

The reductions will take effect on July 1, 2013.

“Although the cuts in funding are mandated, it was OFO’s decision to implement the cuts the way it did,” Maskin said in explaining why day care was being dropped. “It was a very difficult decision.”

The alternative, he said, would be to cut Head Start slots. That program currently serves 395 children, he said.

The day-care program allows parents a full day to work, with their children attending Head Start instruction in the morning and spending the afternoon in day care, he said.

Asked what the would the cutbacks would mean to these families, Maskin said that would be a question better directed to elected officials.

“They only thing we can say right now is we are going to be working with other day care providers in the community and try and set up times where other day care providers can meet the families and see if day care services can be provided that way,” he said.

Rep. Chris Gibson, asked for comment, emailed a statement to The Daily Star.

“I have long been advocating for a comprehensive, bipartisan solution that sets our country on a sustainable fiscal path and voted for such a solution multiple times,” he wrote. “It is regrettable that more of my colleagues have not shown support for working together to achieve such an outcome.

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