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Smart Start leader says proposed budget would eliminate program

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- A leader of the statewide nonprofit that
administers North Carolina's Smart Start program says the current
Senate budget proposal would effectively kill the nationally
recognized early childhood initiative.

The Senate plan released Tuesday would cut funding for Smart
Start by 20 percent, or $38 million, just like the House proposal.
But the Senate measure also would dissolve the North Carolina
Partnership for Children and shift funding administration for 77
local partnerships statewide to the Division of Child Development.

Partnership chairman Dr. Olson Huff said the proposal would
destroy years of academic progress for children.

Budget subcommittee co-chairman Sen. Stan Bingham of Denton said
the changes would free up administrative costs and help more
children, but an amendment to the provision is possible.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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