Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Head Start Investigated.(Journal North)

Byline: Angela Turner Journal Staff Writer

Fired Director Alleges Fraud

Regional Head Start officials are investigating allegations that the program in West Las Vegas is illegally operating by admitting families who have given falsified information on their income and household sizes.

Outgoing West Las Vegas Head Start Director Jackie Padilla said the Dallas officials came to Las Vegas to conduct a weeklong investigation into concerns she raised about the eligibility of some of the students in the program, which is overseen by the West Las Vegas School District.

Padilla believes more than a quarter of the West Las Vegas pre-schoolers do not qualify for the federal program because their families make more than the allowable income.

She alleged that over more than a decade the program has become a day care for families owed political paybacks by school board members.

"I, personally, don't think there's much hope for change for this program as long as it's under this West Las Vegas grantee," Padilla said. …

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