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Earthplace plans bus service to bridge after-school gap

Because of a recent federal ruling that leaves Westport's after-school shuttle buses in limbo, Earthplace plans to provide private transportation to its after-school enrichment program.

The Federal Transit Administration recently ruled that the money used for the local after-school shuttle bus is unauthorized for that purpose. As a result, there is currently no town-provided after-school transportation in place for next week's start of the new academic year.

The town is trying to restore the after-school bus service, which for many years had transported students to a number of local after-school programs, but as a Monday there was no resolution of the issue.

But with assistance from the Westport Transit District and Sandy Evangelista, the transportation coordinator for Westport public schools, Earthplace secured a private transportation provider for its after-school program. The route will include all five public Westport elementary schools and will deliver students directly to Earthplace.

The loss of this public service puts the expense on Earthplace, but its officials said in a statement they recognize this program is vital to working parents who need to know that their child will have a seamless transition from school to a supervised afternoon program.

The Earthplace program includes a curriculum-based science hour, nature walks, interactive animal programs and more. There will also be supervised homework time at the start of each afternoon.

The program starts Monday, Aug. 25, the first day of the new academic year. It runs Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. for students in kindergarten and grades one to five.

For more information, contact Earthplace at 203-557-4400 or visit http://bit.ly/XvuAVG.

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