A one-time Health and Safety grant from the United States Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families will allow the Muscogee Creek Nation Head Start Program to purchase three new 29-passenger buses, which will be used at the Eufaula, Okemah and Tulsa, Oklahoma centers.
Kay Romero, the lead teacher at the Eufaula Center, said the center has had the same buses for the six years she has worked there. She also said the bus will enable them to help low-income families they serve in different ways.
“Without these buses a lot of our kids would not have a way to school,” Romero said in a press release.
According to Romero, the buses can also be used to transport parents and children to health appointments if families do not have transportation.
During the first months of his administration, Muscogee Creek Nation Principal Chief James R. Floyd said a programs needs assessment was completed.
“A review of our programs identified the age and condition of our Head Start fleet as a critical issue that must be addressed as a priority,” Floyd said in the release. “We currently have 12 buses in the program and to date have managed to replace five older, high mileage buses with new ones and will continue to seek grants and explore other funding resources to complete this effort.”
Replacing the aging buses is also a matter of safety.
“These buses carry the Nation’s most precious resource, our children, and we recognize the vital need and immense responsibility of transporting our students, and will adhere to the strictest standards to maintain a high level of safety and dependable operation for the children and families we serve,” Floyd said.
Earlier in the year, two buses were purchased with an appropriation from the Muscogee Creek Nation National Council for the Checotah and Okmulgee centers.
The MCN Head Start Program is a multi-site program with a funded enrollment of 289 children and families, and is organized under the MCN Department of Education & Training.
This story was originally published December 5, 2016.