NC Senate Budget Would Dissolve Smart Start

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.

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