New JCPS bus driver referral system starting Wednesday

Linda Duncan says bus drivers need to be heard and there needs to be consequences for misbehaving on a bus. Starting on Wednesday tomorrow, there’s a brand new
Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 11:35 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - We’ve heard from bus drivers, parents, students, and even the district, and now we’re hearing from one board member about last week’s bus driver sick out.

Linda Duncan says bus drivers need to be heard and there needs to be consequences for misbehaving on a bus. Starting on Wednesday, there’s a brand new system that might make that all happen.

“It’s desperation. That’s what they’re expressing,” said Duncan about the sick out that saw more than 150 drivers call out of work.

“It got everybody’s attention,” Duncan said.

The reason for the sick out was student discipline on the buses.

“A lot of this could be alleviated if the parents would tell the kids how to act on a bus,” said bus driver union president John Stovall.

Duncan has expressed in the past that she wants to help the bus drivers, and she’s brought it up with Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio.

“I think he’s trying to listen and trying to put in some system that will ensure the bus drivers that their referrals will be heard and be responded to,” Duncan said.

Now there will be a new system.

JCPS says they talked to bus drivers and decided their proposed digital system was not going to be as efficient as hoped, so starting Wednesday there will be some changes.

There will now be a Climate and Culture staff member assigned to each bus compound. They’ll have a few jobs:

  • Receive referrals directly from bus drivers who are responsible for writing and delivering them
  • Ensure school staff reviews referrals in a timely manner
  • Update compound coordinators weekly about behaviors and resolutions assigned
  • Answer questions bus drivers have about violations and school follow up

“It’s not just that they read the referrals and have a conference, but that they also issue some meaningful consequences,” Duncan said.

Duncan says she’s talked to Pollio about the district’s discipline code and what they can do.

“It allows up to a 20-day suspension for fighting on the bus,” said Duncan.

Stovall told WAVE News last week the district has been talking with bus drivers and has been suspending kids off the bus.

“They seem to be taking a more proactive action and proof will be in the pudding as the year goes on,” Stovall said.

Duncan says she looks forward to fixing all the problems with the transportation system, but it’ll take time.

“We can’t change the system in the middle of the year, unfortunately. I wish we could. It takes time to redraw all these routes and do all the work that’s necessary,” Duncan said.

Duncan says the district is listening to the bus drivers and doing all that they can to try keep them happy.