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42 hit by layoffs at child agency

Times Staff Writer
Published September 19, 2003

PINELLAS PARK - Pinellas County's Head Start organization has laid off 42 employees, but officials say the move should not affect service at the 19 Head Start preschools throughout the county.

No teachers or teachers' aides were among the layoffs, said M. Juanita Heinzen, acting executive director of Pinellas County Head Start. Supervisors, trainers and other administrative staff were let go.

Heinzen said the move would help Head Start in "getting rid of some top-heaviness and just getting the staff in line to where it should be."

The 42 employees were cut from a staff of 367, about 11 percent of the work force. She did not have an estimate of how much money the layoffs would save.

Heinzen said Head Start has built a new center in St. Petersburg at Fairfield Avenue and 37th Street S "that is a gorgeous addition to the Midtown area." It also has extensively renovated a building in Clearwater at Myrtle Avenue and Turner Street.

"That's kind of where the squeeze is coming in," Heinzen said. She said projections showed Head Start needed to reduce expenses to pay for the new centers.

Head Start is a federally funded program designed to provide high-quality child care to low-income families.

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