JCPS first day underway!

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It's the day many didn't think would come, but with two snow days used for the start of the 2010-2011 school year, the third time's the charm as JCPS heads back to class.

For those on the front lines, the day started dark and early; hours before the sun came up.

Before starting up and heading out, the district's nearly 1,000 bus drivers started their day with a 15 minute pre-trip inspection.

"You check under the hood, you check your oil level and all your fluid levels, you do a walk around and check your lights and then you walk through your bus and check all your doors and emergency hazards," said JCPS bus driver Robert Zimmer.

From there they take to the roads. When asked how he slept Tuesday night, bus driver Curtis Banks said, "I slept real good I'm ready to go." Zimmer said, "I slept good. I've been a monitor for 10 years so I've been here for awhile but this is my first year driving.

Parents also seemed in good spirits, despite wondering when the first day would ever come.

"I knew eventually it would, they just gave the kids a few more days of summer," said parent Audrey Daniels.

She spends every school morning with her son at the bus stop, keeping an eye on things.

"Cars that shouldn't be around, people that look strange, just things to keep my kids and others safe," Daniels said.

And she's placing a lot of faith in the district.

"That's all I can have is faith and just hope that everything goes well with the system and the buses and the drivers and safety of the kids," Daniels said.

960 buses are responsible for transporting about 66,000 of the districts roughly 100,000 students. School leaders say they've taken actions to avoid a repeat of last year, when a few students didn't get home until 9:00 at night.

That includes having elementary students where luggage tags instead of lanyards. Also, Kindergarten students will wear a bright red tag since they often require extra help on their first day.

"We've worked very hard with principals on trying to figure out where their children are going to get off this afternoon and we've installed new digital radios versus our old analog radios so we hope all those preparations will make a smooth day today," JCPS Transportation Director Rick Caple said.

But still, they have this warning for parents about the bus ride home.

"We're going to be late this afternoon - any school district on the first day is going to be late this is a very complicated system on the first day and we have elementary students that are going to go home on a different stop then they got on this morning," Caple said.

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