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Some Smart Start funding restored

The Rutherford/Polk Smart Start Partnership is getting back some of the money it had to return to the state government to cover a state budget deficit. Barry Gold, executive director of the Rutherford/Polk Smart Start Partnership, said N.C. Gov. Bev Perdue advised the “one-time” budget reduction was cut from 5 percent to 3 percent, returning $34,946 to the partnership. Gold said $29,489 will go to services in Rutherford County, $2,194 will go to Polk services and $3,263 will be used for administration. Gold also advised the Rutherford/Polk Smart Start Partnership board that the state is expanding the merger of Smart Start and More at Four to include the consolidation of all state early childhood initiatives, and a statewide awarness campaign called “Smart Investing” will include forums statewide this year.