County Mayor Exploring All Options For Head Start

County Mayor Exploring All Options For Head Start

Shelby county mayor Mark Luttrell said now might be the best time to get the county out of the Head Start business.
MEMPHIS, TN (localmemphis.com) - Shelby county mayor Mark Luttrell said now might be the best time to get the county out of the Head Start business.

The program is designed to help the children of low income parents with education and other benefits.

The mayor said he wouldn't be against a private company running the operation.

But a big crowd of parents showed up at a county commission committee Wednesday morning saying they want it run by a government group simply for accountability.

Children from poorer backgrounds are the meat and potatoes of head start. Let Patricia Hernandez tell you about her son.

“It means a lot. They teach him a lot. They learn to count. They sing. They learn colors. A lot of stuff,” Hernandez said.

Anybody who think people who are poor want to stay poor don't know life according to Shanta Polk. Head start gives her children a chance to lean. To break the chain of poverty.

“You need a hand up, not a hand out. I'm not looking for people to just give me things. I'm looking for somebody to help me,” Polk said.

Others who have children in head start jammed a Shelby County Commission meeting room. Their goal was to let commissioners know they like Shelby County running the agency.

“It's an excellent program. And we need to keep it where we can still have a say so with what goes on with our kids, instead of pushing the buck to somebody else who might not even listen to our voices,” Tiffany Polk said.

Shelby County mayor Mark Luttrell understands why parents don't want a private company to run Head Start, but he's not against the idea.

Lutrell said now that it’s time for renew applications or put new ones in, it's the perfect time to look at all options. That includes a private company.

“If we can partner with someone in the community that has the ability to raise private funds to expand this program, then I think we ought to consider that,” Luttrell said.

What is frustrating for a lot of folks is no one in the county building has a say in who will run head start. The feds will decide.
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