The transfer was made in 1991 and 1992 because of forecasts that teacher salary increases would put the schools’ Head Start programs increasingly in the red. As it turned out, salaries did not rise as projected. That development, along with problems in finding and preparing community sites, prompted the Board of Education and the city, which oversees Head Start locally, to drop plans for the third and final phase of the transfer.
“I expected maybe $100,000 would be cut,” says Wilfredo Ortiz, principal of Lowell Elementary School. “Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to lose $415,000. And that was on top of $75,000 I lost in state Chapter 1.”
Lowell’s allocation went from $758,000 last year to $343,591 this year. “We found out about the actual cut at a regional meeting after school had started, and I had already hired people whom I never would have hired if I’d known this cut was coming,” Ortiz relates. “We cut all our after-school programs and enrichment programs. We had to close about six teaching positions. We had to close a computer lab funded through Title 1. We lost a school/community representative. We have no equipment money, no money for supplies, no money for field trips, transportation, furniture, summer school, no money for remediation.”