LITTLE ROCK — Thirty Head Start centers in 13 counties, all operated by Russellville-based Child Development Inc., were closed Tuesday because of a funding shortfall, the assistant executive director said.

LITTLE ROCK — Thirty Head Start centers in 13 counties, all operated by Russellville-based Child Development Inc., were closed Tuesday because of a funding shortfall, the assistant executive director said.

Jana Bays, who is also director of early Head Start for CDI, said the 30 centers, which serve about 2,300 children, would reopen Wednesday and that a long-term solution to the budget problem is being developed.

She said parents of the children were notified Monday that the centers would be closed for the day.

“We will reopen as usual (Wednesday),” she said.

Bays said CDI used its main office building as collateral last month to meet payroll for its 460 employees.

“We just closed today to try to regroup,” she said Tuesday. “We receive federal and state funds and private funds and small grant funds from various sources. It is a funding issue and we are working to discover exactly what that is.”

Bays said the centers were closed because it is the last day of the current funding cycle for the fiscal year.

“Tomorrow we start a new fiscal year,” she said. “We are looking at our budget, we’re looking at all areas of our program for ways to cut expenses without having an affect on the services to children.”

Jo Ann Williams, executive director of CDI, was not working Tuesday and Bay declined to comment on whether Williams had recently been fired by the CDI board.

“We value our services to children and we value our staff,” Bays said. “We are working hard to continue to provide quality services to children and families.”

Betty Williams, chairman of the board, could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Denton Tumbelson, a current board member who recently served as chairman, declined comment.

Amy Webb, spokesman for the state Department of Human Services, said the state licenses CDI and all other federal Head Start programs.

Webb said she did not know how many of the students participating in the state-funded Arkansas Better Chance preschool program were attending CDI centers.

“Apparently they are just closing for day,” Webb said. “I was told that this was partially related to the fact that the federal Head Start budget did not get approved until last week. There are some ABC slots that we also have with these programs and we will be looking into that, but we don’t necessarily have an investigation.”

Child Development Inc. operates 30 centers in Arkansas, Conway, Desha, Franklin, Johnson, Lincoln, Logan, Lonoke, Perry, Pope, Polk, Scott and Yell counties.