Sacramento, California - Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia’s AB 1453, Transportation to Literacy has unanimously cleared the Senate floor, will undergo concurrence in Assembly and then head onto the Governor’s desk. This measure would authorize the governing board of a school district to use and operate buses for the purpose of transporting adult volunteers to and from educational activities at school sites.
The Assemblymember introduced this bill in response to a prohibiting vehicle code that stood in the way of Read with Me Volunteers, a local literacy assistance program, from offering transportation for their volunteers to remote school sites. A California vehicle code restricted the organization from utilizing school district buses to shuttle volunteers, many of whom senior citizens whose homes may be located 40 miles plus away from school sites.
“AB 1453 removes a significant roadblock that threatened to hinder the Read With Me Volunteers program’s ability to provide literacy assistance services to students. This measure unlocks a method of transportation to these much needed reading aids and will go a long way in boosting connectivity to educational resources in rural, underserved communities in my district,” stated Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia. “This organization has created a road map to literacy. Their proven results could serve as a model for all California.”
Read With Me Volunteers Founder, Mrs. Roberta Klein agrees, “The children love the program. The teachers love the program. We know the program is replicable in other areas and the need to bring the volunteers who have the skills to the children that need them is great."
This program was founded by Roberta and Clay Klein in 2004 at the behest of Riverside County’s Superintendent of Schools. They connect English speaking volunteers with English learning students in disadvantaged communities. These volunteers provide mentorship and individual assistance with pronunciation and reading comprehension to over 5,000 students a year.
This organization chiefly serves school sites within Coachella Valley Unified School District, a predominantly rural, migrant farm working area. The district acknowledges that this program has played an integral role in improving graduation rates from 51% in 2004 to now 82%.
“I want to commend Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia’s leadership, his efforts to increase educational opportunities in disadvantaged communities and for working with our school district to see this piece of legislation to the finish line,” stated Coachella Valley Unified School District Superintendent, Dr. Edwin Gomez. “Read With Me Volunteers has been a critical resource for improving English reading comprehension and fluency in schools within the Coachella Valley Unified School District. The service of these volunteers has become an invaluable asset and the passage of AB 1453 will allow them to assist more of our students.”