School board discusses future of transportation at JCPS

School board discusses future of transportation at JCPS
Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 11:47 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - At Tuesday’s meeting, JCPS superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio spent a lot of time detailing how the busing disaster unfolded on the first day of school.

In the meeting, Pollio gave a look at what the future of transportation at JCPS could look like.

“I just think the community needs to know that the days of all students being transported to all schools is at the end of that road,” he said.

Pollio said some hard decisions may need to be made in the future when it comes to transportation, not just at JCPS, but education as a whole.

“We have gotten to a point now where we are able to manage this,” he said. “It is not ideal, there is no doubt about that, and I agree. We are holding it together the best we possibly can right now.”

JCPS has gone from 1,080 full-time drivers with 975 routes in 2015 to 578 drivers with 568 routes in 2023.

When an average of 44 drivers are calling out of work daily, it makes things even harder.

“When we have a large amount of call-ins for sick or vacation days or whatever that may be, that puts us underwater so to speak in the number of drivers we have based on routes,” Pollio said.

There have been pushes for increasing bus driver pay, stipends for parents to drive kids to school, and other ideas.

At the meeting, Pollio proposed four options that could potentially fix many of their problems.

“None of these are easy answers, none of them are things that we want to do,” he said.

Option one is transporting all 15,968 magnet and traditional students via hubs. This means JCPS will take them to school as long as they get to a hub first. It could save 60 to 70 buses.

Option two is only transporting free and reduced lunch magnet and traditional students, which could save 90 to 100 buses.

Option three is a combination of the first two. Which is transporting free and reduced lunch students via hubs. That could save 100 to 110 buses.

Option four is what Pollio said is the most aggressive option.

“We eliminate transportation to all magnet and traditional students,” he said. “There are some equity issues we obviously have to talk about there. That would save us the range of about 140 routes.”

Pollio wants to bring these options out into the community.

“Having honest conversations throughout the course of the year and then implementing one of these before we start next year is going to be imperative for us,” he said.

Pollio said they’re looking to set up something, so people can give feedback online.

As for an external auditor, they should have someone in the next few weeks.