By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The School District of Philadelphia is shifting an additional 2,000 preschool children to private day care.

Starting next school year, more than half of the three- and four-year-olds in district preschool programs known as “Head Start” will be served by private day care providers.

District spokesman Fernando Gallard says budget pressures are to blame.

“Unfortunately, the driver is that the district will have less funding,” he tells KYW Newsradio.  “We were using Title I dollars to be able to support these programs.”

And that federal funding is being cut in half, from $16 million now to $8 million next year.

The teachers’ union says the move will mean less quality instruction, but Gallard says the district provides training and oversight for private preschools.

Gallard adds that there will probably be layoffs as a result, but the district hasn’t yet calculated how many.

About 9,000 children are currently served by Head Start in Philadelphia.  The number in private day care will go from about 3,700 to about 5,700 next school year.

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