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By Sam Stein & Amanda Terkel
Huffington Post

WASHINGTON — Head Start, the federal pre-K education service for low-income families, has eliminated services for more than 57,000 children in the coming school year as a result of the federal budget reductions known as sequestration.

The cuts include a shorter school year and shorter school days, as well as laying off or reducing the pay for more than 18,000 employees nationwide. Others eliminated medical and dental screenings and bus routes.

The latest numbers, first reported by the Washington Post, come from “reduction plans” Head Start grantees submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services. Head Start had to absorb a 5.27 percent reduction to its $8 billion in funding.

All told, 57,265 children (nearly 6,000 of whom attend Early Head Start) saw their services eliminated, according to data provided to The Huffington Post by HHS. The state to take the biggest hit was California, where 5,611 Head Start kids were denied a spot in the program. In Texas, that number was 4,410. In New York it was 3,847. But underscoring just how widespread the effects of sequestration have been felt, even smaller states were impacted. In North Dakota, Head Start eliminated 194 slots in its program. In Rhode Island, it cut 450 positions. Even in far-flung Hawaii, 72 Head Starts slots were slashed.

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