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updated: 7/1/2011 3:39 PM

Dist. 47 to start up activity buses

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Middle school students in Crystal Lake Elementary District 47 won't need to rely on Mom or Dad for a ride if they want to stay after school for sports, clubs or to study.

In the fall, the district will offer free transportation on activity buses, which will pick students up from the district's three middle schools and drop them off at designated points in the community. The buses will be available on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

"Part of the middle school philosophy is to get kids connected to their schools," Superintendent Donn Mendoza said. "That's done through daily academics, but students can also connect through a variety of activities that are offered. In the past some kids may not have been able to participate. This will provide transportation if that was a limitation."

The activity buses will pick students up at 4:15 p.m., two hours after the end of the school day at Richard Bernotas, Hannah Beardsley and Lundahl middle schools. The media center at all three schools will be open to allow students to use the computer laboratories for research, complete homework or to provide a quiet place to study under adult supervision until 4:15 p.m.

Mendoza said each school will provide two to three buses to transport students to designated drop-off zones, which are yet to be finalized.

The additional routes will cost the district about $35,000. The service will be free to students. Fees for sports and other activities also will remain the same.

"Especially in these economic times, it is hard to ask people for money," Mendoza said. "But we feel this is a priority and will enhance the connectiveness for pre-adolescent middle school kids."

More information will become available for middle school families in the fall.