Shutdown Hits Local Education - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Shutdown Hits Local Education

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Day two of the government shutdown is in full force, and its effects are reaching into local communities.

Government buildings sit empty and it now turns out, education could even take a hit. Plans are being made in preparation for a long-term shutdown.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 1,700 employees are in Yellowstone County and a majority are laid off indefinitely. This comes as an immediate result of Tuesday's government shutdown.

But one other important arm in the community may end up heavily impacted.

"Hopefully, the whole business about the government being shut down will be settled fairly quickly. If not, then we'll have to go to contingency plans," says Head Start Executive Director, Kathy Kelker.

Unlike public schools, Head Start draws 80 percent of it's funding from a federal grant. The way it works is, when head start needs money for things such as payroll, they file a request with the federal government who in turn, dips into an account and gives the requested amount.

"Because our fiscal year started in July, there is money in the pot for us. But it will run out shortly if it's not renewed."

It's a problem that has already closed head starts across the country.

"Their fiscal year, unlike ours, ours started in July, theirs was supposed to start October 1st. There's nothing in their pot," Kelker says.

Should the shutdown linger, Kelker says a contingency plan is in place.

"I try to have available in our non-federal funding, enough money to do a payroll. And that's as far as I can go. And then we may have to seek a line of credit."