JCPS Superintendent leads session on new school start time proposal

JCPS Superintendent leads session on new school start time proposal
Published: Feb. 20, 2023 at 5:29 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 20, 2023 at 11:18 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Jefferson County Public Schools provided more information on a proposed change to school start times.

The new proposal, titled “Smart Start,” was announced by JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio on Wednesday, creating a range of nine different start times from 7:40 am to 9:40 am for K-12 students.

Pollio cites bus delays and health impacts as the main reasons why this proposal needs to be approved.

Hundreds of people tuned into the informational session. Teachers, students, and parents were able to text in questions about the new start time proposal.

JCPS averages around 30 unexpected delays a day, those delays can cause buses to be anywhere from 15 minutes, to 2 and a half hours late.

“We have had 20,000 students miss class due to a late bus. 3 million minutes of instruction have been lost,” Pollio said.

Pollio said by the end of the year, that number will get up to nearly 5 million minutes. Right now, all middle and high school resides school students start school at 7:40 a-m.

According to Pollio, that’s way too early.

“The research is very clear on the negative health impacts of students if they start school that early in the morning,” Pollio said.

Pollio’s solution to those two problems is to add more school start times.

We’ve heard from parents who aren’t too thrilled about the proposal.

“Especially as for me, as being a single parent, depending on other family members to help out. I mean-across the board, it is going to be worse than it is now,” Jenna Simpson told us last week.

“Family’s schedules, we know will be impacted. We completely understand that and we will work with you to try and assist in any way,” Pollio said at the meeting.

JCPS used this virtual forum to answer questions from parents and students.

“My child’s elementary school is scheduled to start earlier, and I cannot get them to school and be home for them when they get home. What can I do?” one parent asked.

“Inside each cluster we now have a multitude of start times, so we would encourage you to look at the transfer application. We will have CEP available inside of each cluster for our families so they would have child care until the family could pick them up,” Pollio said.

Teachers were also asked questions. One asked about transferring due to the change in school start times.

“If a teacher does not get a transfer and they just absolutely cannot meet that start time or conclusion time, we will work with JCTA and our other union partners with employees to make sure they get to a building that has a start time that’s more conducive for their individual needs,” Pollio said.

Pollio says they’ll hold a information session about the proposal at next week’s school board meeting. They’ll be asking the board to take a vote on it in mid to late March.

Watch the full session below: