Kentucky childcare, early education facilities receive $4.3 million in pandemic relief

Kentucky childcare, early education facilities receive $4.3 million in pandemic relief
Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 9:36 AM CDT
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OWENSBORO, Ky. (WFIE) - Approximately $4.3 million in COVID-19 pandemic relief is on its way to assist Kentucky childcare and early education entities.

Senator Mitch McConnell announced 27 community service agencies and educational organizations across the commonwealth will be receiving the federal funding.

Officials say that funding will provide necessary childcare and learning services during the coronavirus pandemic.

Audubon Area Head Start is one of these recipients, and the facility is set to receive nearly $602,000 of this relief money.

Head Start works on school readiness targeting lower-income children ages 0-5.

“With the extra funding, we were able to open up quickly in June and it has allowed us to remain open the enitre time,” Barbara Nickles, a lead teacher at Audubon Area Head Start said.

Head Start officials say with COVID-19 restrictions, they needed to hire more staff, so the money will go toward staffing. This way staff isn’t going back and forth to different centers. They also plan to use these funds for PPE and cleaning supplies.

“In the beginning, there were lower class numbers,” Nickles said. “You had to have class of no more than 10 (students). So the extra money allowed us to put in some walls, temporary walls so that we could open up and my class went from 18 kids to two rooms of 19.”

Since Head Start is such a large organization, facility officials say they are receiving more money compared to other places.

“We are fortunate that we are part of the Head Start program, which is federally funded so we did receive funds from them as well,” Alyssa Carter, the financial resources team manager with Audubon Area Head Start said. “So yes, absolutely we are not hurting as much as other programs out there, but it has been a tremendous benefit to us.”

Head Start has already used previous relief funding to purchase new filtration units. Facility officials say they have already received half of the relief money and are putting it to use.

The funding was made available by the Coronavirus Relief and Response Act of 2020.

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