Teachers, Parents Protest Sequester Cuts

Roanoke, VA - As sequestration cuts start to sink in it's becoming clear that the across the board cuts have no discrimination.

Many social programs and organizations are in the line of fire.

One group that will have to make some big decisions is Total Action Against Poverty in Roanoke.

A 5% budget cut is no summer picnic for any business, but when you are dealing with non-profit groups designed to help the less fortunate, those cuts are measured not in dollars but in the number of people who will go without.

As part of national call of awareness, parents, teachers and staff were asked to come out and speak up about guaranteed cuts that will affect pre-K education.

Matt Lambert, who's a Family Development Specialist with Total Action Against Poverty, isn't here in an official role... but feels the need to speak up for those who can't.

"It's an important thing to have pre-school available to all families if they need it. If you don't have it, how are you able to work? And then it can become a downward spiral," said Lambert.

Lambert's main concern is the $450,00 the Head Start program will lose, which in the end means that scores of children will go without at a time they can least afford to.

"That means it's going to be less children served and in all likelihood staff laid off," said Ted Erlich, president of TAP.

Possibly affecting Sidney Copney's two children.

Something he can ill afford.

"$600 dollars a month just in childcare and that's not including my rent," said Copney.

Which is why he joined this "Stroll In" that made its way to Congressman Bob Goodlatte's office... to let them know how badly this could hurt.

"Without them, who knows if I'd be able to work or if I'd be able to afford to live on my own with my kids," said Copney.

In all, TAP expects to lose $450,000 of their $9 million head start budget and it doesn't stop there for that non-profit.

Overall TAP is planning on losing between $800,000 and $1.5 million this month.

They expect that will short change 600 people using head start, vet services and GED programs to name a few.