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Airport furloughs are over, kids programs are still preparing for cuts

Published On: Apr 29 2013 08:12:30 PM CDT   Updated On: Apr 29 2013 08:23:17 PM CDT

After a week of massive flight delays, airport furloughs have ended.

On Friday, Congress passed legislation that allowed the Federal Aviation Administration to send air traffic controllers back to their normal work schedule. The cuts were a part of sequestration cuts that slashed $85 billion in funding to federal programs. Some that are still on the chopping block to receive less funding have a big impact on Abilene residents. 

Although, the Abilene airport experienced a small impact with minor delays in flights, the greater effect was felt in employee wallets.

Director of Aviation at Abilene Airport Don Green said, "People have their family budgets, their household budgets that they have to maintain and you take an unplanned hit to your salary that's where the real impact is. It affects people's lives."

Green said Congress received pressure from industry groups and passengers to restore airports to full capacity. 

In response to the legislation passing, President Obama said this in his weekly address, "So congress passed a temporary fix. A band-aid, but these cuts are scheduled to keep falling across other parts of the government that provide vital services for the American people."

Those parts include programs like Head Start which serves pre-k children, usually from lower income homes.

"It's a little frustrating," said Director of Early Childhood programs Cheryl Cunningham in Abilene. "I mean I know air traffic controllers are critical. We have to have them too, but we're looking a thousands and thousands of children who won't get services across the nation if sequestration stays in place."

Unless Congress takes action, many parents need to find another solution for their kids. 
"It impacts families in a great way," said Cunningham. "It's going to impact school readiness and impact their future success. It's going to impact employees. So it's not just a few little kids. It's really, really a big deal."

Abilene's Head Start program will continue to serve children already in the program through the 2012-2013 school year. Cunningham said anywhere from 20 to 60 kids in Abilene would not be serviced through the beginning of the year.