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Currently, Newton’s school transportation program does not accept alternate drop-off requests from families to out-of-school-time programs. With Sheprd gone, no transportation contractors in the city will accept individual requests for school transportation directly from families. Organizations are limited in the number of schools they reach with their own transportation options because the pickup window is short.

These phenomena are not unique to Newton. Many surrounding communities, some viewed to be more economically disadvantaged, have solved these challenges by altering their routes or building transportation costs to families or third-party childcare providers into their busing contracts. Boston, Brighton, Dorchester, Lowell, Medford, and Watertown provide busing to after-school programs directly or to the general areas where they reside. Why can’t Newton?