Champlain Valley Head Start needs your help to keep the buses going for the children and families in Addison County! Click here to Donate
The majority of children and families served by these buses live in households that are at or below 100% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) as defined by Federal guidelines. In 2018, the FPL for a family of four is $25,100. Transportation is one of the greatest barriers to families trying to move up out of poverty. Without reliable transportation parents cannot transport children to early education sites. These children are less likely to get the quality care and education they need to be ready for kindergarten. Additionally, parents who do not have access to child care cannot get to work, or attend classes that develop skills they need for employment.
Increasingly, due to lack of affordable housing, families with low incomes must move further away from town centers and child care sites. This only increases the need for transportation. Public transportation often has challenging schedules and a bus stop may be a long walk from the family residence. A family that does have a car may find it unreliable or gas unaffordable.
With two buses operating Monday – Friday, with both morning and afternoon runs, the Champlain Valley Head Start (CVHS)/Addison County Parent Child Center (ACPCC) transportation program transports 40 children and 10 adults, on a daily basis, to and from five, high-quality early education sites, as well as job training and adult education locations. Because of this partnership, parents are able to get their children to early care and learning programs, and children are able to access high-quality educational opportunities designed to prepare them for successful transition to kindergarten.
With one-time financial support from the Office of Head Start, the collaboration was able to procure two (2) Multi-Function School Activity Buses (MFSABs).The MFSABs are designed to be safer than passenger vehicles in preventing crashes and injuries, and include protective seating, high crush standards and rollover protection features. In most parts of Vermont, children in public school, grades K through 12, are provided with school bus transportation, while children in early care and learning programs are often transported in vans or other vehicles which do not meet the strict safety requirements of school buses. The CVHS/ACPCC transportation program incorporates best practice by using buses, and the buses are staffed with highly skilled and trained drivers and bus monitors.
CVHS and ACPCC have been able to stretch existing funding to the maximum extent possible to cover operational costs of the transportation system for the past year. Operational expenses are larger than anticipated for our Multi-Function School Activity Buses and we are searching for ongoing support to close the $140,000 gap!