Casco Head Start moves to Bridgton…for now

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — Lead found in the paint on the porch of the Grange Hall may have displaced the Casco Head Start Program temporarily.

But, it did not stop the preschool from operating.

Earlier this winter, a firm tested the Grange Hall for the lead paint in building. Lead levels were present in the paint on the porch of the town-owned building. That health hazard halted the nonprofit Head Start from holding preschool at the Grange any longer.

Currently, the preschool students from the Town of Casco still attend Head Start in the afternoons at the same location as Bridgton Head Start, which runs its program in the morning.

That information is according to Jim Gemmell, the vice president of communications for Opportunity Alliance, the agency which offers the preschool program Head Start to families who qualify.

“Those families served by the Head Start program are going to the Bridgton Head Start,” Gemmell said.

He added that arrangement is working well, and will likely be the case until late May when the preschool wraps up for the summer.

“We can no longer use the Grange Hall site,” he said.

The Crooked River School was explored as a future site of Casco Head Start, but that was not a suitable space, Gemmell said. He did not know the exact reasons for that decision.

“We are working with the Town of Casco to figure out something for the fall,” he said. “It’s still up in the air. We are working on it.”

The same employees from Casco Head Start are working at the Bridgton Head Start location. There are 18 students in the Casco program. That is the classroom size mandated by the state, Gemmel said.

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