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Program provides free bus passes for West County students

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  • c slamon
    Program provides free bus passes for West County studentsBy Shelly Meron Contra Costa
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 14, 2009
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      Program provides free bus passes for West County studentsBy Shelly Meron
      Contra Costa Times<smeron@...?subject=ContraCostaTimes.com:%20Program%20provides%20free%20bus%20passes%20for%20West%20County%20students>
      Posted: 09/11/2009 07:27:39 PM PDT
      Updated: 09/13/2009 05:30:01 PM PDT

      Getting students to attend school can be a challenge anywhere � many kids
      would gladly trade a day of solving algebra problems or discussing Beowulf
      for sleeping in and playing video games.

      But in West Contra Costa, students often must overcome more than just their
      own motivational obstacles.

      "Young people were talking about how sometimes they were forced to walk to
      school when they wanted to take the bus, and had to cross into difficult
      neighborhoods. There were safety issues," said Contra Costa Supervisor John
      Gioia, whose district includes much of West County. "We were also hearing
      about low-income families who, toward the end of the month, had to make
      difficult choices, and had to trade transportation for food. What we heard
      was the need to figure out a way to help students get to school."

      So, starting in 2001, Gioia teamed with Alameda County Supervisor Keith
      Carson, then-state Assemblywoman Dion Aroner and local transportation
      officials to propose a bus pass program for low-income children. Now, after
      a successful two-year pilot program, the initiative is being rolled out in
      the West Contra Costa and John Swett school districts; West Contra Costa
      does not provide student busing, and in John Swett, students must pay for
      district busing.

      The program gives free AC Transit monthly youth bus passes or low-cost
      WestCAT 15-ride passes to local high school students who qualify for free
      and reduced-price lunches; they can use the passes to commute to school,
      after-school and recreational activities, and part-time jobs. Students also
      can trade in the WestCAT passes for their cash value of $15 toward a $40
      monthly pass.

      Students must apply for the program, and 2,000 kids will be awarded the
      passes on a first-come, first-served basis. As of Friday, the West Contra
      Costa district had received about 700 applications.

      Here is the link to the entire article:
      http://www.contracostatimes.com/bay-area-news/ci_13319582?nclick_check=1


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