JCPS could change school start times amid bus driver shortage
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Jefferson County Public Schools has introduced a proposal that would update school start times to alleviate the shortage of school bus drivers and get students to school on time.
JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio unveiled the new proposal, titled “Smart Start,” on Wednesday. The proposal would create a total of nine different start times ranging from 7:40 a.m. all the way to 10:40 a.m.
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“Hundreds of JCPS students are missing instruction time every day because their bus is arriving 10 minutes to two-and-a-half hours late to school,” Pollio said. “That’s not fair to our students, their families, our teachers, or our bus drivers. This plan is the only way to ensure student learning time is no longer a victim to our bus driver shortage.”
Pollio said the new plan would reduce the number of bus routes from 732 to 600 and alleviate the issue of having bus drivers make double or triple runs to get all students to school.
“Providing more start times for K through 12, reducing the number of routes and staggering them over a two-hour period is the best solution to ensuring that we get every student to school, on time, every day,” Pollio said.
The new proposal will have 83% of schools’ start times change by an hour or less, with 19 schools’ start times remaining the same.
Changes will allow a number of JCPS middle and high school students to have later bell times and give students more time to sleep, something the superintendent pushed for due to research-backed evidence it would provide more attentiveness and performance in the classroom.
”This will positively impact students,” Pollio told reporters Wednesday. “The 20,000 students who are late to school will now be at school on time every single day. They will leave right after school. The 30,000 students who are getting an extra hour of sleep will improve attendance, will improve tardiness, and improve academic outcomes.”
The proposal is scheduled to be presented to the Board of Education in a March meeting. If the proposal is approved, it will be implemented at the beginning of the 2023-24 school year.
Pollio said he’d like to see all middle and high schools on a later start time in the near future, though it’s not possible yet.
JCPS said it plans to have a live information session about the proposal on Feb. 20.
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