NHSA’s Response to President’s FY 2025 Budget Proposal

Washington, D.C. – President Biden released his proposed FY 2025 budget on Monday, March 11, 2024, including $12,540,519,000 for Head Start and Early Head Start–an increase of $544 million over FY 23. Last year, the Administration proposed a topline of just over $13.1 billion for Head Start programs and began a methodical and much needed workforce wage and benefit compensation adjustment to coincide with a cost-of-living increase. Unfortunately, that’s nowhere to be seen in this request which is over half a billion dollars lower than the FY24 request.

National Head Start Association’s executive director Yasmina Vinci released the following statement about the proposed budget:

“The Head Start community is disappointed and concerned about the President’s budget request for FY 2025,” Vinci said. “Head Start and Early Head Start reflects a national commitment to provide all children the foundation they need to thrive both inside the classroom and in the wider world. Tailored for children from eligible families, everything Head Start does is rooted in the unwavering philosophy that where you come from shouldn’t stand in the way of where you’re going.”  

“Following decades of underfunding, Head Start and Early Head Start are stuck in a workforce crisis and we need the support of Congress and the Administration to get out of it,” Vinci continued. “The Administration seems to have forgotten that its own November 2023 wage and benefit requirements proposed as part of Supporting the Head Start Workforce and Consistent Quality Programming rulemaking would cost $1.6 billion in FY25 alone – only one-third of what the White House has proposed. After all the talk from the Administration about raising Head Start teacher salaries and working toward a living wage for staff – there’s no evidence of that in the FY25 Head Start funding request.”

The President’s proposal for universal pre-K for four year-olds, which includes Head Start, would require passage of major legislation by Congress and many years to fully stand up and implement. But the proposed budget sets up a scenario where Head Start programs will have to cut slots and serve fewer children in order to meet new compulsory federal workforce compensation mandates while waiting for implementation of the new universal Pre-K program. That being the case, both children and families currently enrolled in Head Start and Early Head Start and the teachers and staff employed by over 1,600 grant recipients will suffer. We look forward to working with our champions in the House and the Senate to correct these omissions and get Head Start the resources needed to continue changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of families each year,” Vinci concluded.

Considering the needs of families and communities, NHSA recommends FY25 funding of $15.67 billion to maximize the role Head Start plays in supporting the country’s most vulnerable children and their families. This investment will support the Head Start workforce, and provide a significant cost of living adjustment; flexibility to address local quality improvement priorities, including deferred maintenance and childhood trauma issues; allow for expansion of Head Start, Early Head Start, and Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships; and continued recruitment and development of staff for American Indian/Alaska Native programs. 

About NHSA

The National Head Start Association is a not-for-profit organization committed to the belief that every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, has the ability to succeed in school and in life. The opportunities offered by Head Start lead to healthier, empowered children and families, and stronger, more vibrant communities. NHSA is the voice for nearly 1 million children, 270,000 staff and 1,600 Head Start and Early Head Start grantees in the United States. ••• Media Contact: media@nhsa.org

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