Published on Wed., February 22, 2023

Senator Tim Kaine reading to elementary students

Sen. Tim Kaine recognized National School Bus Driver Appreciation Day Wednesday with a visit to William Marvin Bass Elementary School. He met with Lynchburg City Schools (LCS) administrators to discuss the $9.8 million in federal funding LCS will receive to purchase 25 zero-emission school buses. 

A crucial step toward the LCS commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, this funding was made possible through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. LCS eventually plans to transition completely to zero-emission vehicles, which will ensure cleaner air for students, staff, and community members in addition to cutting fuel costs.

“Virginia students deserve buses that won’t accelerate climate change and pollute the air in their communities,” Kaine said. “I’m glad to see Virginia is receiving federal funding so that school districts can purchase more energy efficient school buses.”

Kaine recognized LCS Director of Transportation Hope Watts and LCS Bus Drivers LaDonna Reid and Colbert Smith for their outstanding service to the community. 

“(Bus drivers) have a relationship with the students that’s different from the teachers’, but you’re a daily presence in their life…That can be a really important part of the child’s educational experience,” Kaine said. 

Kaine spent the morning connecting with Bass Elementary students, parents, teachers, bus drivers, and staff members. He read “Sofia Valdez, Future Prez,” a story by Andrea Beaty about a young girl who takes a stand to better her community, aloud to first-grade students.

Kaine also discussed his bipartisan Preparing and Retaining Education Professionals (PREP) Act to address teacher and principal shortages, especially in rural areas. The bill would increase access to teacher preparation programs in order to promote teacher retention and student achievement. It also aims to increase teacher diversity by supporting educator training programs at Minority Serving Institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. 

“There are some good strategies that are working. So can we take strategies that are working and make them stronger?” Kaine said.

Senator Tim Kaine with Bass Elementary students, families, and staff

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