Brookfield, LaGrange, LaGrange Park Elementary School District 102 Superintendent Warren Shillingburg is trying to find a new home for the Head Start program that has long been run out of the Congress Park Elementary School in Brookfield.

Shillingburg would like to use the large first-floor classroom currently housing the Head Start program for special education.

But Shillingburg says that if the Head Start program cannot find an alternative site, he would not kick Head Start out of Congress Park School.

“The board would not support us dropping the program unless we could find a place for it to be housed,” Shillingburg said.

The federally funded Head Start program has been around for more than 40 years in the area and serves 34 low-income preschoolers aged 3 to 5 at Congress Park School. There are 17 students each in the morning and afternoon sessions of the program.

Currently District 102 provides the classroom space to Head Start free of charge. The two Head Start teachers and the program director are not District 102 employees.

Shillingburg has put Head Start officials in contact with the Park District of LaGrange hoping that the park district can provide classroom space to Head Start.

LaGrange Park District Executive Director Dean Bissias said he met with Head Start officials last week.

“All I’m doing right now is going through the requirements to see if we can meet them,” Bissias said. “I have no idea right now if we can meet them or not. I have some outlying buildings that I’m looking at. I can’t make any promises or guarantees.”

One location Bissias is looking at is the Sedgwick Park field house located at 47th Street and East Avenue. That building is used at night for park district programs but is not used very often during the day, Bissias said.

“I don’t know if that building will work,” Bissias said.

Head Start has very specific requirements for buildings that house its programs.

If a new location for the Head Start program can be found, Shillingburg said he would use the classroom at Congress Park for special education students the district now sends to specialized private schools.

“If we house these special ed students in house, it saves us a lot of money,” Shillingburg said.

Shillingburg said that fears that the district will kick out the Head Start program are unfounded, adding that if another suitable location can’t be found for the program it will not be forced out of Congress Park School.

“If that doesn’t work we’re not looking to get rid of it or cancel it,” Shillingburg said. “We’re only trying to find a new home for it so we can find the space for other programs and needs of our own school district.”