Federal budget 'sequester' will be felt in Portage

By Mike sever | staff writer Published:

If federal legislators can't come to terms and the budget "sequestration" does occur, there will be effects in Portage County including to health, education and military training.

The head of the local Head Start early education program said they are being told by state directors to expect an immediate hit.

"We are anticipating an 8 percent cut, about $240,000," said Suzanne Livengood, executive director of Portage Learning Centers, which operates Head Start programs in the county.

The program serves 290 Head Start students in its five preschool centers and another 84 Early Head Start students up to age 2. Livengood said the cuts would mean serving up to 40 fewer students.

"Transportation may be affected as well. We do not want to do that, being a rural community," Livengood said. Each center has a bus to pick up students, she said.

There are centers in Waterloo Elementary School in Atwater and in Central School in Kent. The program has its own buildings in Streetsboro and Ravenna, and three classrooms for Early Head Start at the Happy Day School in Ravenna Township.

Livengood said they are working on a plan to accommodate the cuts.

"We will look at community needs. There's a need in every communty -- that's the problem. We don't want to cut services to any area, but it looks like what they are forcing us to do," she said.

Lt. Col. Edward Meade, garrison commander at Camp Ravenna Training Center, said he expects to feel the effects of federal employee furloughs.

He estimated it will amount to about 22 days of furlough without pay, which will impact scheduling through the end of the year, Meade said.

Meade said the center already took a 12 percent cut to its maintenance budget in the Defense Department budget cuts approved last year.

No scheduled training has been canceled at the center which occupies most of the former Ravenna Army Ammunition Plant east of Ravenna, Meade said. A graph by the Department of Defense showing a state-by-state impact on the military shows a $700,000 impact in Ravenna.

DuWayne Porter, head of the Portage County Health Department, said he expects some of the grants the department depends on could be delayed.

"We're not sure exactly what to expect. Like everybody else, we're going to have to wait and see," Porter said.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1125 or msever@recordpub.com

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  • When I went to enroll my son some 16 years ago, I was told that he would not "fit in" with the head start crowd. He was reading very well by that age. But I spent the TIME to teach him, I didn't rely on government assistance to do so. Maybe if the mothers of Ravenna would put down their crack pipes and take care of their cash cows....

  • I agree DoWhatsRight. More federal monies being funneled into a program for those who don't work...when are they going to do something for the folk who are working poor? Way back when, I enrolled my son in Head Start on my days off of work. It was an absolute joke.

  • This is crazy according to Ms. Livengood: "We are anticipating an 8 percent cut, about $240,000," said Suzanne Livengood, executive director of Portage Learning Centers, which operates Head Start programs in the county. The program serves 290 Head Start students in its five preschool centers and another 84 Early Head Start students up to age 2. Livengood said the cuts would mean serving up to 40 fewer students.” If we take the $240,000.0 and divide it by the 40 fewer students, it shows we are paying $6,000.00 per each of the students. At that price we should cut them all out. I am sick and tired of paying exorbitant amount of money to help the children of a bunch of lazy parents. These parents should be helping these kids, but most likely they are too high on drugs to give a dam. I say every parent of every child in a head start program or any other taxpayer funded program should be tested for drugs. They should be monitored for what they do with the family income. Let them pay for their own kids.

  • "Time to Ax Public Programs That Don't Yield Results"....Time Magazine article; By Joe Klein Thursday, July 07, 2011.... It is now 45 years later. We spend more than $7 billion providing Head Start to nearly 1 million children each year. And finally there is indisputable evidence about the program's effectiveness, provided by the Department of Health and Human Services: Head Start simply does not work. According to the Head Start Impact Study, which was quite comprehensive, the positive effects of the program were minimal and vanished by the end of first grade. Head Start graduates performed about the same as students of similar income and social status who were not part of the program. These results were so shocking that the HHS team sat on them for several years, according to Russ Whitehurst of the Brookings Institution, who said, "I guess they were trying to rerun the data to see if they could come up with anything positive. They couldn't."...Maybe we should cut the Head Start program?

  • Hear Ye, Hear Ye, We are BROKE!!! Quite Whinmning! It is called OBAMANOMICS. How is it working out for you?