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Pinellas County Schools denied Head Start grant

Pinellas County Schools has been trying to make a push into the arena of early childhood education because many of its students are coming to kindergarten behind their peers. But it has suffered a setback - it was denied a $12 million grant to run the county's Head Start and Early Head Start programs.

Instead the grant was given to Lutheran Services Florida, a non-profit organization based in Tampa, which has run a Head Start program in southeast Florida for about 30 years. The R'Club, which offers a lot of after-school programs in Pinellas County, applied for the grant with Lutheran Services Florida.

Samuel Sipes, president and CEO of LSF, released this statement about the grant: "We are thrilled to bring our Head Start and Early Head Start expertise into Pinellas County, and we look forward to helping children in Pinellas gain the skills they need to enter school ready to succeed."

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Pinellas school superintendent Mike Grego released this statement: "We congratulate Lutheran Services of Florida on its successful application. We look forward to a positive relationship with the organization as we all work toward the betterment of our community through educational opportunities for all."

Pinellas County Schools hasn't yet received a report back as to why their application wasn't successful.

Head Start and Early Head Start are federal programs for low-income children. The programs, which are birth to age 5, are meant to prepare children for school.

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