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      Saginaw Head Start prepares for school year after cuts

      It's back to school for area school districts but younger learners will not head back to the classroom until next week.

      When they do, there will be fewer students in Head Start classrooms.

      Deep federal budget cuts, known as the sequester have taken a large toll on early-childhood program, Head Start.

      Nationally, 57,265 kids will not be served this year.

      In Michigan, 2,204 fewer students will be in the classroom.

      As Head Start teachers in Saginaw prepare for the first day of class, they say it's hard knowing some students may not be able to attend the Head Start program this year.

      "It's a wonderful program it's not just for low-income needy families, it's for all families it's preparing the child for school," said associate teacher, Tongua Welch.

      In addition to ABC's, Head Start teaches students real-life lessons.

      "We teach about safety about buckling up about crossing the street to make sure you're crossing with an adult," said Welch.

      In Saginaw, the Head Start program was previously funded for 1,000 students.

      Due to federal cuts, the program can only accept 983 enrolled students this year.

      In addition, the Early Head Start program that serves pregnant women and families is being reduced by 12 positions this year.

      "Those are significant numbers when you look at families that are not receiving services," said Sabrina Beeman-Jackson, Head Start and Early Head Start program director.

      If federal cuts stay in place, the Michigan Head Start Program could be looking at even deeper reductions in the future.

      "I see this having long term effects on our community and on our program," said Beeman-Jackson.

      Saginaw Head Start is currently still enrolling students at some of the 17 locations but officials said spots are filling up.