JCPS superintendent says adding more start times could fix the district’s transportation problems

JCPS superintendent says adding more start times could fix the district’s transportation problems
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 11:24 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - At the JCPS school board meeting last week, superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio said school start times might be able to fix the problem of kids waiting hours for a bus or being dropped off at the wrong bus stop.

JCPS is working with consultants at MIT to address their issues with transportation and start times. According to Pollio, they say JCPS has one of the most complicated transportation systems.

Pollio said as far as he knows, JCPS is the only large district in the country with only two start times for K-12 students.

He said that needs to change if they want to ease the load on their bus drivers.

“This will require us to do as many other districts have done over the past two decades, which is to add more start times with multiple bus fleets being used,” Pollio said at last week’s meeting.

10 years ago, JCPS had nearly 900 bus routes with 950 drivers. Now, they have 725 bus routes with just 650 drivers.

That means 75 drivers need to go back and pick up the routes that aren’t covered the first time.

“What this means is students coming late to school, losing valuable instruction time, and in the same way having to stay after school until we can do it. Along with staff members having to stay after school with them to support our students,” Pollio said.

We asked to a substitute bus driver near the beginning of the school year about what bus drivers go through each morning.

Charlie Mayberry said bus driving is one of the most stressful things he’s ever done.

“At night I would wake up like every hour thinking I don’t want to miss this because some little kids is sitting there waiting on me. You don’t know if their parents are gone or any of that stuff,” Mayberry said.

Pollio said the national trend tells them they’re not going to get many more bus drivers any time soon.

“We must consolidate our runs down to about 600 bus routes for the 650 drivers that we have,” Pollio said.

Pollio’s solution has some schools starting at 7:40 a.m. and others at 8:30 a.m.

“We have an attendance crisis in our district just like many districts like us, and we need our students, especially students from our high needs schools to get additional sleep and time to get to school in the morning,” Pollio said.

Pollio said start times will be an upcoming major change initiative for JCPS in the next several months.