BOSTON (AP) — Advocates say more than 2,000 young children in Massachusetts will not be going back to school next week because federal budget cuts have reduced the number of slots available in the Head Start program.

Massachusetts Fair Share is among the groups petitioning Congress to end automatic federal budget cuts — known as the sequester — that it says has resulted in the state losing $47 million in the upcoming school year.

Nationally, Fair Share says $1.7 billion in education funding has been slashed since the sequester took effect earlier in the year.

Paul Toner, Massachusetts Teachers Association president, said in a prepared statement that the cuts hurt the Bay State’s most vulnerable families and children.

Head Start provides early education opportunities and other programs to about 14,000 families with preschool children in Massachusetts.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


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