As Erie News Now reported, the Greater Erie Community Action Committee (GECAC) did not receive the federal grant funding after running the Head Start program in Erie for more than 50 years. Reviews of the GECAC Head Start program found deficiencies at several Head Start locations, which included not having proper emergency exits and a couple of occasions where children were left unsupervised for a short period of time. GECAC employs 160 people through the Head Start program, which is 40% of its staff. 

Head Start is the federal government’s preschool program for children from economically disadvantaged households. A family’s income must be at or below the federal poverty level – currently $25,750 for a family of four – for children to enroll in Head Start, which is intended to prepare children for a successful transition to kindergarten and elementary school.

CDC already serves about 400 Head Start children in Venango and Crawford counties after acquiring a five-year, $19 million grant in the summer of 2016.