Vermont can do better on childcare
I constantly hear that Vermont is aging quickly and struggling to attract young families. While we love living here, when friends ask me if they should move to Vermont, I have to first ask them if they have young children. If they say yes, I unfortunately tell them to be prepared to spend hours and hours on the phone and online trying to find an available spot. Recently a former co-worker of mine found out she was pregnant. Her initial excitement turned to fear and angst as she spent all of her free time trying to track down an elusive childcare spot in the greater Burlington area.

What is most disappointing is that instead of taking action to improve these conditions, Vermont DCF issued rules that only made things worse. While well meaning, these rules have done little to improve the quality of childcare and education and have instead placed unnecessary burdens on childcare providers. Regulators say the requirements will lead to more effective childcare providers. What it has actually done is created a feeding frenzy for the few open slots while doing nothing to improve the childcare situation in Vermont.

One of my son’s teachers celebrated her five-year anniversary teaching and has over 13 years’ experience working in childcare. This morning she informed me that she is changing careers because of the regulations requiring head teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree, while she currently holds an associate’s degree. To her it is not worth taking on an additional debt to get a degree that would allow her to do something she is already more than qualified and capable to handle. Somehow the state of Vermont has decided that my son would be better off in the care of someone with much less experience but who holds a piece of paper saying they are qualified. The arbitrary “one size fits all” rules surrounding the qualifications of childcare providers in this state is exasperating an existing problem and has forced another well qualified teacher to leave the industry.

Enough is enough. We do not need another study. We do not need another blue ribbon panel. It is time for leadership in this state to step up and take action. If Vermont is serious about fixing the childcare crisis, they could begin by rescinding or amending the recent regulations which will increase the supply of safe and affordable daycare options for families. They could provide more education opportunities and funding assistance to aspiring teachers. These are fixable problems. It is time to start listening. It is time to stand up for our children and do something meaningful.

Jeff Royer
Colchester

 

Don Turner is a true public servant
During my 15 years in the legislature, I’ve run into politicians of all stripes. But I’ve only happened across a handful of true public servants – those dedicated to putting their constituents above all else. Don Turner is one of those rare public servants.

From the Vt. House of Representatives to the Milton Fire and Rescue Department to Milton town manager, Don lives and breathes public service. And while the current lieutenant governor has certainly been in Montpelier for a very long time, Don’s record of experience brings the viewpoint of not only lawmaker, but a first responder, too. That’s why (much like a first responder) whenever an issue comes before him, Don never asks “What’s in it for me?” but rather “How can I help?”

I know Don will bring this same level of dedication to service to the lieutenant governor’s job. His record of building bridges in his community and in the House makes him well-positioned to foster balance and collaboration as lieutenant governor.

I hope you will join me in supporting Don Turner for lieutenant governor.

Rep. Patrick Brennan
Colchester, Chittenden 9-2

 

September is Library Card Sign-up Month
The Burnham Memorial Library on Main Street provides library cards free of charge to Colchester residents and visitors.

While there is no need to be a cardholder to use Burnham’s public computers, reserve meeting space at the library or Meeting House, seek the help of our friendly and dedicated staff or to attend library programs (see the calendar of events in this issue of the Sun), when you become a cardholder, you have access to the entire collection of books, DVDs, CDs, e-readers and audio-visual equipment. In addition, cardholders have access to research databases, free online courses, borrowing privileges at many other libraries in and around Chittenden County, as well as access to the state’s ABLE Library of audio, braille, large-print and e-book collections.

Burnham cardholders can also borrow passes to local recreation and cultural destinations, including Vermont State Parks, Island Line Bike Ferry, ECHO Center, Shelburne Farms and more.

With your library card, you can download thousands of free e-book and audio book titles straight to your Kindle, Nook, Apple and Android devices.

To get a library card, bring in a valid form of identification with proof of residency, such as a driver’s license, utility bill or letter from a social service provider. For patrons who are unable to come to the library, their representative should also bring a power of attorney.

For more information, please visit the library at 898 Main St., call 264-5660 or visit the library online at colchestervt.gov/library.

Toni Fortini Josey, Chair
Leora Black, Vice Chair
Marcia Devino, Treasurer
Jessica L. Clarke, Secretary
Bob Henneberger
Burnham Memorial Library Trustees