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Repairs needed to Head Start facilities

Head Start programs in Picayune and Poplarville are currently closed because a transition process is underway.
Dr. Pamela Thomas, Director of the Early Head Start program in Picayune, said the transition process entails hiring staff, moving the grant funding from Mississippi Action for Progress to the Picayune School District and the need to perform repairs to the facilities.
The Picayune School District will now operate the Head Start program due to Mississippi Action for Progress Inc. making the decision to cut back the number of counties where a Head Start program was offered. Pearl River County was one of the nine counties cut.
Now, the Picayune School District will receive the grant funding to provide those services. Since the school district already provides Early Head Start services, the decision was made to assume the operation of Head Start services in Picayune and Poplarville as well.
During a special call meeting of the Board of Trustees held Tuesday, a motion was approved to move $190,000 of funding from the $848,000 total in start up funding to conduct roof repairs to the Picayune campus, located on Highway 11 next to the National Guard Armory. The Poplarville campus also needs repairs.
Thomas said the plan is to remove the shingles from the roof and install a metal roof to fix leaks that are occurring at the Picayune location.
Other necessary work needed includes dry wall repairs, repairs to the concrete on the outside of the building, HVAC repairs and updates to the playground, said Special Projects Director Arnold Smith. Funding for those additional repairs was not included in the motion made on Tuesday.
The funding to repair the roof was initially set aside to purchase a bus for the program, but since the program is currently closed and the pandemic has caused the district to request that parents transport their children to the Head Start campus once it reopens, the funding could be used to repair the roof.
Thomas said she anticipates the program will reopen in about a month. She said she and her staff look forward to providing the necessary services to the four-year-olds in the program to ensure they are ready for Kindergarten.