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Head Start officials consider closing Picher site

PICHER, Okla. (AP) _ Officials with the federal Head Start program are considering closing the program in Picher because of lead contaminated soil.

The city is inside the Tar Creek Superfund site where years of mining resulted in the contamination. Young children are believed to be most susceptible to learning problems associated with exposure to lead.

Northeast Oklahoma Community Action Agency director Jean Cooper and Head Start officials have proposed closing the Picher program and sending the children to Commerce. The proposal then calls for children from Picher, Commerce and Quapaw to be consolidated at a new campus in North Miami next year.

Head Start is an early childhood education program for low-income children, mostly ages 3 and 4. 24 children are pre-enrolled in the Picher program for the school year that which starts in about five weeks.
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