Comparing KDE guidelines with JCPS bus concerns

Comparing KDE guidelines with JCPS bus concerns
Published: Aug. 21, 2023 at 4:53 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - With all the Jefferson County Public Schools bus issues, some parents are wondering why the Kentucky Department of Education isn’t stepping in.

The truth is JCPS is not breaking some of its transportation guidelines.

This school year, JCPS changed its start times, bus routes, and many of its stops. One of the most frequent complaints is that kids are being dropped off alone, without an adult at the bus stop.

“I had no idea that my first and third-graders would be left alone at their bus stop if I wasn’t there,” said Cara Manry, mother of two JCPS students.

KDE says, “If your district requires a person to be at the bus stop to pick up the child, that’s the parent’s responsibility.” It’s JCPS policy kindergarteners cannot be dropped off without an adult present without written consent, but students of all other ages can. JCPS says parents should arrive at the bus stop at least 15 minutes early.

“You know parents are working and not everyone is able to be at the bus stop, especially if there are early or late,” said Berkely Collins, mother of two JCPS students. “I don’t understand. I get it, there are trying to put it back on the parents, but we have also put our kids in the trust that they are going to have bus transportation.”

Other concerns parents share are about the distances and paths students have to take to the bus. State law does not require a parent to be able to see their child’s bus stop from the house, and students may be assigned a bus up to a mile away. KDE says Bus stops are determined by each district and are supposed to take into consideration many safety aspects. On the JCPS bus finder, there’s a warning for parents.

“They are right there stating these bus stops are not safe,” said Theresa Fields, grandparent of two JCPS students. “I thought JCPS was about kids and safety, but it’s right out there.”

JCPS says, “The warning is a reminder that the burden is on the parent to make sure their child gets to the stop that has been assigned within the safety parameters we follow.”