Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that in the federal government’s ongoing commitment to improving education in the Territory, American Samoa’s Head Start program will receive more than $2.2 million for FY 2004.
“Our Head Start program does not have to compete for these funds,” Congressman Faleomavaega said. “Instead, these funds are appropriated by Congress and Congress directs the Department of Health and Human Services to distribute these funds according to Congress’ mandate.”
“Funding for Head Start is not based on per pupil costs or the number of children that attend or qualify for Head Start. Instead, a block grant is given to the States and Territories and it is then up to each State or Territory to determine how many children it will serve.”
“In 2002, for example, American Samoa received $2,049,000 and Guam received $2,082,000 for Head Start programs. American Samoa chose to serve approximately 1,532 children with its funds while Guam chose to serve only 440 children,” the Congressman said.
“The reality is all States and Territories have more children who qualify than are serviced by Head Start. For example, Guam services less than 18% of its eligible students while American Samoa services more than 41% of its students.”
“I commend American Samoa’s Head Start leaders for making this important program accessible to so many of our children. Our Head Start leaders are wise stewards of our federal dollars and I am pleased that they are giving so many children in American Samoa the opportunity to participate in this federal program which was created to foster healthy development in children who are economically disadvantaged.”
“Again, I thank American Samoa’s Head Start leaders and teachers for their outstanding work. I also thank my colleagues in Congress who continue to support my efforts to make sure American Samoa receives it fair share of federal dollars. Most of all, I wish our children who are our future the very best,” the Congressman concluded.