Restart of Classes in Kentucky's Largest School District
Jefferson County Schools in Kentucky faced a setback due to transportation problems, resulting in class cancellations. The district implemented new bus routes and staggered start times, but had to shut down schools for over a week. However, they have...
Troy D. Hanson
August 19, 2023
Kentucky's largest school district, Jefferson County Schools, faced a major setback last week when a transportation issue forced them to cancel classes. With over 90,000 students, the district took immediate action to resolve the problem.
The district developed new bus routes and implemented staggered school-start times in an effort to mitigate the effects of driver shortages. However, this strategy ultimately resulted in a shutdown of schools for more than a week. In response, district officials made the decision to resume classes for elementary and middle-school students on Friday, with high-school students returning on Monday.
Apologizing to frustrated parents, the district acknowledged the disruptions caused by the bus problems and pledged to allocate additional resources to address delays.
Reports from various media outlets in the city on Friday morning indicated that there were fewer transportation issues compared to the first day of school on August 9. School officials made adjustments to certain bus stops and provided bus drivers with complex routes with a ride-along person to assist with navigation.
In addition, officials have implemented an app that allows real-time tracking of the buses. This app will soon be made available to parents as well.
While there were some isolated incidents of buses arriving late to school, including Keeley Finn's two children, overall it was a smoother experience. Finn mentioned that although the buses arrived about 10 minutes behind schedule, both of her children reached school considerably after it had already begun.
For instance, her 11-year-old son arrived at 9:30 a.m., half an hour after the official start time. Likewise, her 13-year-old daughter, who had a lengthier commute involving a bus transfer, arrived 44 minutes after the start of school.
Finn believes that increasing bus-driver pay could alleviate some of the transportation problems. Recognizing the difficulty of their job and the challenges they face, she emphasized the importance of fair compensation for their hard work.
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School Bus Delays Cause Frustration for Louisville Parents
Berkley Collins, a concerned parent, experienced the frustrating consequences of transportation issues during the first week of school. Her middle-school daughter arrived home two hours late, while her elementary-school daughter had to miss an entire day of school due to the lack of transportation options. Despite Collins' efforts to secure a bus ride for her younger daughter, she was informed that it may not be available until early next month. This situation has left Collins feeling as though her daughter's education is being undervalued.
In response to the widespread disruptions, school officials issued a note to parents on Thursday, acknowledging that delays were expected and advising those who could find alternative transportation arrangements to do so. The Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) emphasized that although the situation was far from ideal, it was the current reality. With approximately 65,000 bus riders in the district, managing transportation logistics is undoubtedly a complex task.
The blame for these issues has largely been directed at AlphaRoute, a contractor hired by the district to revamp the bus routes. The changes made by the company resulted in some students not being picked up in the morning and others being dropped off as late as 10 p.m. in the evening. Recognizing the severity of the situation, AlphaRoute dispatched a team to Louisville to assist in resolving the problems.
In a correction to earlier reports, it should be noted that Finn's two children who experienced bus-related disruptions were a boy and a girl, rather than both daughters.
More Transportation News
For those interested in transportation-related developments beyond Louisville, here are a few noteworthy headlines:
The 'Tesla of school buses' recently inaugurated a new plant.
Driverless buses have begun operating on the streets of San Francisco's Treasure Island.
Proterra, an electric-bus manufacturer, faces financial challenges as it files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
These updates may serve as a reminder of the ever-evolving landscape of transportation and its impact on various sectors.