JCPS to change school start times for students, address bus delays

JCPS to change school start times for students, address bus delays
Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 7:46 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Every day, Jefferson County Public School bus 70,000 students to school, while the district is short at least 75 bus drivers.

The bus delay dashboard list shows at least 23 buses are delayed this week, and district officials expect that number to climb due to unexpected bus delays.

JCPS superintendent Dr. Marty Polio’s proposed solution is changing the time students start their school day.

”I’ve said it often,” he said. “We are one of the few districts in the United States; if the only large district, that has two start times - 7:40 a.m. for middle school, high school and 9:05 a.m. for elementary school. That exacerbates our transportation problems, and we’ve got to make changes.”

Pollio’s plan is to have schools begin at one of nine different start times staggered between 7:40 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.

The superintendent said his plan will allow adolescent students to sleep in, while younger, elementary school students will wake up earlier.

”I just need to have some questions answered in my mind,” JCPS District 5 Board member Linda Duncan said. ”For parents, trying to make or get kids to different locations, high school, driving them in the morning and afternoon, how is this going to affect that because they have kids in elementary school, and in middle school, and in high school.”

Pollio said there are several reasons behind the changes. First, he believes it can fix the bus driver shortage.

He said it will also help the mental and physical health of their middle and high school students by allowing them to sleep in longer, and it will help fix the district’s attendance crisis.

“And hopefully get out adolescent students, middle and high, as many as we can, starting a little bit later,” Pollio said. “The health of our students is very important, research supports that.”

A third of JCPS students are chronically absent, Pollio said.

The superintendent said his goal with this proposal is to have only 600 bus routes, covered by 650 drivers.

District officials said JCPS parents will be notified of these recommendations in the upcoming days.

The School Board is scheduled to vote on the proposal in March.