Today, Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15) announced that the Office of Head Start, within the Administration for Children and Families, has awarded the Hidalgo County Head Start Program $13,254,123 in federal funding. Head Start is a federal program that promotes school readiness for pre-school children from low-income families.
The Hidalgo County Head Start Program is a comprehensive child development program that assists children three to four-years-old and their families. The grant will allow Hidalgo County Head Start to continue serving children and families in South Texas. Head Start children receive many services including: educational, nutritional, health, social, and special services. For 35 years, the program has sought to promote school readiness and prepare children to achieve high levels of academic and developmental success in kindergarten and beyond.
“A top-notch education starts at an early age,” Congressman Gonzalez said. “Hidalgo County Head Start has long been a champion of closing the achievement gap and empowering low-income children to reach their full potential. With this funding, Hidalgo County Head Start will be able to continue reaching more children and families in the Rio Grande Valley into the next decade.”
“We are delighted to hear that we will continue to serve the poorest children and their families in Hidalgo County with the most comprehensive program in early childhood education to address school readiness and ensure that our children have a smooth transition to the public schools fully prepared to succeed in Kindergarten and beyond,” Executive Director, Teresa Flores said. “We are most proud of our successful school readiness collaborative agreements with ten districts in the county: Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD, La Joya ISD, Monte Alto ISD, Mercedes ISD, Weslaco ISD, Edinburg CISD, Mission CISD, Hidalgo ISD, Edcouch ISD, McAllen ISD and Hidalgo ISD. The presence of a district funded teacher in all 186 classrooms with our teacher and our assistant teacher provided an ideal learning environment!”
Hidalgo County, under a competitive application submitted to the Office of Head Start in 2016, secured funding for a Five Year Head Start Grant to continue comprehensive services for 3,690 children ages three and four-years-old, from the lowest income families in Hidalgo County. The continuation of program funding will also assist 775 employees that currently serve children across 40 facilities in South Texas. This announcement is approval of the continuation of the grant which funds 80% ($26,508,244) with a 20% ($6,627,061) matching requirement. This new funding will begin on January 1, 2018, and is one of several federal continuation grants that will allow the program to operate until June 6, 2021. In addition to federal funds, the Texas Department of Agriculture provides $3,401,424 for nutrition services.