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Parish Head Start headed home?

Ben Hillyer | The Natchez Democrat — Lashawn Grandison makes sure Concordia Head Start students Gavin Fortress and Nathan Bates are secured in their seat belts before their bus heads off to Vidalia Tuesday afternoon.

CLAYTON — With nine classrooms and 155 students, Concordia Head Start has been preparing Concordia Parish 3- to 5-year-olds for school in Clayton for the last 16 years.

The program, which is a part of LaSalle Community Action, was originally located in Ferriday and was moved to Clayton. Another move could be in the program’s future now.

LaSalle Community Action Executive Director Dorothy Oliver said the group is in the beginning stages of getting an application approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to move the program back to Ferriday.

Ben Hillyer | The Natchez Democrat — Students from the Concordia Head Start leave the Clayton school and head for home by bus. Buses take the 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds from Clayton to homes throughout Concordia Parish.

“The building we are in is more than 50 years old and initially we are not meeting the fire marshal specifications,” she said. “A new facility is necessary to keep us going.”

Oliver said the age of the building is not the only problem the program is having.

“We have waiting lists for the program, and if we can move to Ferriday, we are hoping to add two classes,” she said.

Oliver also said since the program has students from all over the parish and provides transportation for those students, the move to Ferriday would make for a more centralized location for transporting all the students.

“The students are only allowed to be on the bus for one hour a day, and sometimes with the drive from Vidalia to Clayton, that gets a little close,” she said. “A more centralized location would be easier for the transportation to happen.”

So far, Oliver said she has heard nothing but positive feedback from parish residents about the possible move.

“This would alleviate a lot of problems we are dealing with,” she said.

Oliver said the move will even help the town of Clayton.

“The mayor has already told us that he would like to use the building for some projects he has going on,” she said. “So the old building would still get some use.”

Ferriday Mayor Glen McGlothin said he is in total support of the proposed move.

“It will help bring things back to Ferriday,” he said. “There are so many kids who need it who can’t get in the program, and if we can help them get in we would love too.”

McGlothin said he is going to do all he can to help the program move.

“It’s just wonderful all the way around,” he said. “I am doing what I can to help it, and I am hoping all the citizens come together so we can get this program running.”

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