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Cuts are looming for Portage County Head Start
Federal budget cuts could force the early childhood education program to drop 20 to 34 students next year

Grant Engle
In The Region:

A pre-school program for low-income families in southern Ohio is losing a million dollars in federal funding because of sequestration budget cuts –- and educators in Portage County are bracing for a similar loss.

Portage Learning Centers, which oversees Head Start and Early Head Start in the county, is expecting about $160,000 in cuts to its $3 million budget.

Suzanne Livengood is the director of Portage Learning Centers. She says the center will have to drop 20 to 34 children from the programs in 2014, cut back the time the centers are open and permanently lay off some employees.

But Livengood says the most devastating impact of the cuts will be on the low-income families who rely on Head Start.

Suzanne Livengood on the impact of cutting Head Start

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“They want the best for their children," she says. "They want their children to have a better life than they do, and it’s been taken away, and it’s just very disheartening.”

Livengood says the agency hasn’t received official notice of the cuts, but they appear to be imminent

Portage County Head Start and Early Head Start serves 374 children.

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