More than $2 million in grants is helping Umatilla Morrow Head Start add 69 additional children and 20 new jobs to its preschool programs next year.

According to a news release from the agency, a new classroom will be added in Pendleton and other slots will be dispersed throughout Umatilla Morrow Head Start’s service area. The result will be 625 children served through Head Start, Early Head Start and Oregon Pre-Kindergarten.

The funding for the new preschool slots includes a $2,086,144 grant from the Oregon Department of Education and $221,500 from the federal government. The money from the federal government will be used to reopen a 17-child Hermiston classroom and three Early Head Start slots that were closed in 2013 as part of Congress’s sequestration cuts.

Umatilla Morrow Head Start director Cathy Wamsley said in a statement that having funding restored will “make a difference for our community’s children and families.”

Beginning in the fall 20, Head Start children will also attend preschool in the InterMountain Education Service District’s special education classrooms. Head Start director Darcee Kilsdonk said that the program is designed to promote tolerance of children with disabilities.

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