Federal Report Outlines Head Start Issues


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Government Accountability Office reported to Congress how 45 CFR 13.10 is affecting transportation services and other agency operations for grantees nationwide.

More than two-thirds of Head Start grantees have implemented federal transportation regulations, while nearly all that are in compliance use a school bus or an alternative allowable vehicle to transport young children.

So says a federal report to Congress released this summer by the Government Accountability Office. But paying for the regulations of 45 CFR 13.10 remains a problem, as there was nearly an even split between those that have and have not.

The 72-page GAO document dated July 27 followed a 10 month survey of the nation’s Head Start community designed to gauge preparations for a looming final deadline to meet 45 CFR 13.10.12, which requires the yellow bus or similar vehicle with back-up sensors, 3-point lap/shoulder restraints and bus monitors by Dec. 30, 2006. GAO received a 77 percent response rate.

More than half said they were experiencing no more than moderate cost effects on transportation budgets as a result of the regulations, while 44 percent reported experiencing “large or very large increases associated with one or more of these requirements.”

Of those experiencing problems, 58 percent reported at least one effect the regs have had on transportation service — 83 percent said they were forced to change transportation routes while half said they were forced to reduce transportation services altogether. Another two-thirds of respondents said the regulations had at least one effect on their overall program operations, most often resulting in an increased number of staff (58 percent); increased staff hours (54 percent); changed, reduced or eliminated services other than transportation (49 percent); or reduced staff hours in the classroom (49 percent).

The GAO found only 18 percent of Head Start agencies reported “being either half-way or less than half-way finished” with achieving compliance. The report in its entirety is available on the GAO Web site.