© 2024
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Vermont's governor focuses on summer nutrition and learning programs during weekly briefing

Vermont Statehouse (File)
Pat Bradley
Vermont Statehouse (file)

Vermont’s governor emphasized the importance of summer nutrition and education programs during his weekly briefing today.

Republican Phil Scott said as summer approaches it’s important to keep kids engaged while they are out of regular school hours. He says Vermont is funding various programs across the state.

“Making sure our youth are engaged throughout the summer is one way to help minimize the potential for summer learning loss. Doing so can be as simple as keeping kids reading over the summer,” Scott said. “And over the last few years we’ve taken steps to grow the number of after school and summer programs available across the state. The afterschool grant program helps to create affordable programs using different partnerships to fill the needs of local families. This year grant awards will support 73 different partnerships and provide a variety of opportunities including connections for New Americans, peer mentoring and youth leadership.”

Last week the federal government approved Vermont’s participation in a Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer, or EBT, program that will allow families to purchase groceries during the summer months when schools are closed. Department for Children and Families Commissioner Chris Winters said the state is among the first nationally to start a SummerEBT program.

“That benefit is going to be $120 per child for income eligible families. We’re estimating that about 45,000 children, which is a little over half of the student population in Vermont, will qualify for this benefit,” Winters said. “Many families will automatically get those benefits, but some might need to apply. If your family already receives benefits like 3-Squares, Medicaid or Reach-Up you’ll automatically be enrolled in the SummerEBT program. The department plans to issue automatic benefits starting July 15th.”

Governor Scott was asked about several bills the legislature has passed and are headed to his desk. One would set the property tax rate to fund education at 13.8 percent. Scott says he’s made it clear that he will veto the bill because that increase is too high.

“We’ve reached out to the House and the Senate and it seems like there are two ways to get to where I think we need to get to. Their way might be to just override my veto. That would be one way,” noted Scott. “The second way is we have an approach. We have a plan, a proposal, that we are willing to speak to them about. It’s just trying to get to a bridge to more structural reform in the future. I think we should get there faster because this problem doesn’t go away by impacting property tax payers in a big way this year. It will not alleviate them from more pain next year. So that’s why we need to get to structural reform now.”

Related Content