Local educational agencies receiving funding through preschool education aid are required to contract with every willing Head Start program that is able to meet the requirements for the number of eligible preschool students in the local Head Start catchment area determined by the federal government (N.J.A.C. 6A:13A-2.2 (c)), the New Jersey Department of Educated noted in an advisory that offers clarification on the requirement.
Head Start programs are designed to provide increased supports to qualified families, the NJDOE noted. These supports exceed the NJDOE education requirements with health care, family supports and extended day and year programs. The partnership with Head Start blends federal and state dollars to fully fund programs. The use of Memorandums of Understanding and the exchange of funds and or services in lieu of a contract is not allowable.
When LEAs are jointly serving Head Start funded students the following must occur:
- A formal contract between the LEA and provider must be executed. LEAs may use the template provided annually by the NJDOE at 2023-2024 Head Start Contract or can submit modifications for approval.
- A provider budget must be submitted to the NJDOE for the Head Start program.
- When projecting enrollments for the following school year, students who receive Head Start funding through the local agency must be accounted for as “Head Start” in the enrollment projection form, and not “in district.”
Questions may be directed to the Office of Preschool Education via email.