Joe Robach recently introduced a bill to the Senate Education Committee. Senate bill S. 704 is an act to amend the education law, in relation to reimbursement for transportation costs for universal prekindergarten students under certain circumstances.
This bill will allow school districts who are able to generate significant reductions in reimbursable transportation through employment of a variety of efficient practices to reinvest a portion of the savings to provide State Education Department reimbursable transportation to pupils enrolled in universal Pre-Kindergarten programs (UPK).
Joe Robach supports this education bill is because Pre-kindergarten Programs (UPK) provide opportunities for young children to participate in challenging, stimulating programs, designed to support their language, cognitive and social development while being sensitive to their strengths and needs.
Districts like the Rochester City School District have goals to enroll every four year old child within the District in UPK. To some extent, the lack of access to transportation for parents and students is a barrier to achieving this goal. And in some districts, getting to the UPK program can be exceptionally hazardous and/or unsafe, especially for children of this age. Joe Robach wants all children that are trying to obtain their education to be safe.
State policy should provide incentives to districts to develop economies in transportation policy which conserve precious natural resources. By permitting districts who achieve at least 5% savings in year over year transportation costs to retain 60% of the savings to develop a reimbursable transportation program for UPK students, an appropriate balance of incentives and affordability is achieved which will save energy AND safely transport our most precious resources, our children. Joe Robach believes this is an important education initiative.