Resources Head Start Related Articles Head Start Granted New Extension to Comply with Transportation Mandate
Head Start Granted New Extension to Comply with Transportation Mandate PDF Print E-mail
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Friday, 01 September 2006 00:00

Head Start programs are again getting a reprieve from the requirement that children must be transported on school buses or allowable alternate vehicles. Congress, in PL 109-234 granted a new extension of the compliance date until Dec. 31, 2006.

The original compliance deadline was Jan. 18, but an initial 150-day extension to June 30, 2006 was granted at the end of last year when the president signed the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill, which also allowed waivers to be granted for the mandated use of child restraint systems and the bus monitor requirement if an agency “demonstrates that compliance with such requirements will result in a significant disruption to the Head Start program or the Early Head Start program and waiving such requirements is in the best interest of the children involved.”

In June, a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was published in the Federal Register proposing the waivers for the bus monitor and child restraint system mandate prescribed in 45 CFR 1310. The requirement would place undue burden on those Head Start grantees that don’t have a dedicated transportation component and instead coordinated with the local school districts, said an official with the Head Start Bureau.

The most recent delay of the allowable alternate vehicle mandate to Dec. 31 is due to re-authorization bills being considered by Congress, at least one of which has a transportation component, said Robin Leeds, industry specialist for the National School Transportation Association.

Essentially, she said, Congress is waiting for the completion of the study to examine the effects of the transportation regulations on Head Start programs.

Cost and operational issues of bus monitors, child restraint systems and the school bus vehicle requirements will be addressed in the report. And the study will also research state and local standards that Head Start programs must already meet regardless of federal regulations.

“We’ll be very interested to look at and particularly interested to see whether it is going to be that Congress will consider rescinding that requirement, including the use of school buses,” she said.

Reprinted from the September 2006 issue of School Transportation News magazine. All rights reserved.

Last Updated on Monday, 21 December 2009 16:49