Keeping tabs on Head Start

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

St. Joseph News-Press

The executive director of the Kansas City Head Start program is a case study of what can go wrong when oversight comes from Washington rather than being local. The federal government is challenging more than $800,000 in salary and bonuses paid to Dwayne Crompton, executive director of the KCMC Child Development Corp. The corporation, which runs the Head Start program in Kansas City, has 30 days to pay all or part of that sum or explain why Crompton was worth that much. ...

The $800,000 figure represents the director's compensation package for three fiscal years ending in 2002. According to the Kansas City Star, which quoted Internal Revenue Service and other government records, Crompton received in salary, bonuses and perks $237,153 in 2000, $343,064 in 2001 and $307,503 in 2002. Included in his perks, federal Head Start money paid for the lease on a Mercedes sport utility vehicle for the director.

In comparison, the Star noted, the head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services earns $171,900 annually. His assistant, who is in charge of the Head Start program nationally, earns $134,000. ...

The Bush administration is pushing to shift the Head Start program under the supervision of the U.S. Department of Education and to ultimately give more authority to state governments. The new department is intended to put more of an emphasis on a child's education while the local control is designed to make the spending more accountable.

Crompton's pay package proves that changes need to be made.

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