CLINTON—Anderson County school officials have revoked a decision that could have resulted in the loss of about $700,000 in funding for the Head Start program in Oak Ridge in the next school year.
The Anderson County Board of Education rejected Oak Ridge’s Head Start application on April 10 over concerns about the falsification of federal data, specifically reports on the motor skills of children.
But since then, officials from Anderson County and Oak Ridge schools have met and hammered out a 10-point plan that could be put into place for the 2014-2015 school year. The agreement would allow Oak Ridge to continue to receive funding for the city’s Head Start program through Anderson County.
The agreement between the two systems, which would have the city and county work together to hire a new preschool principal or director in Oak Ridge, was considered during a brief special meeting of the Anderson County Board of Education in Clinton on Tuesday. The board unanimously agreed to rescind their April 10 rejection and accept Oak Ridge’s proposal.
The $700,000 in Head Start funding would cover about 118 students next year in Oak Ridge. Head Start is a federal entitlement program for low-income children. Anderson County Schools supervises the local Head Start program.
The case of the false data is reportedly still under federal review, but John S. Burrell, Anderson County school board chair, is hopeful that the agreement between the two school systems, which includes the hiring of a monitor using $50,000 in Head Start funds, will help alleviate any concerns federal officials might have.
Anderson County school officials said Oak Ridge education officials have taken responsibility for what happened and dealt with it appropriately.
“I think this ought to more or less be the end of it,” Burrell said.
More information will be added as it becomes available.