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Head Start program hit hard by sequester cuts

NILES, Mich. -- Sequester cuts are affecting the Head Start program that helps children under the age of five in low-income families. In Michiana, several dozen students and their families won't be able to take part in the Head Start program.

School is back in session for many kids in Michiana, but for the ones who need it most - the buses aren't coming.

"Head Start is my passion," said Ramona Borowicz, Director of Tri-County Head Start.

Borowicz and her staff focus on getting low-income children, ages zero to five, ready for school.

"If a child attends Head Start, they're more likely to stay in school," said Borowicz.

But this year - federal cuts have reduced her budget by $500,000. That means 80 children and their families won't get the help they need.

"The scary part for us in the Head Start community is that the sequestration could happen again," said Borowicz.

In Michigan, those cuts are some of the deepest.

More than 2,000 children won't be served by the program.

Concerned - we reached out to lawmakers to see if this troubled them - and what they were doing to bring it back.

We're still waiting for a response.

"We really have to do the best that we can do with what we have. We still offer a high-quality program, we continue to offer a high-quality program, with less funding," said Borowicz.

Borowicz is hoping residents will urge lawmakers to reconsider those cuts - so at-risk children can get a head start towards a good education.

Head Start leadership says this program is important, even to people without children because students who participate are more likely to graduate and acquire skills to help the local workforce.

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