JCPS admits "glitches" must be addressed; touts overall success - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS admits "glitches" must be addressed; touts overall success

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LOUISVILLE, KY (WDRB) -- JCPS administrators touted successes but also admitted there were several "glitches" and "issues" that must be addressed on the first day back to school in Jefferson County, Kentucky's largest school district.

The silver shine on the first day back to school was slightly tarnished by issues with bus overcrowding, students who were assigned to the wrong bus, or bus drivers who neglected to pick up the children.

Superintendent Donna Hargens spent the day observing several schools. She told reporters late Wednesday that she noticed several positives, including improved radio communication and the new "tagging system" that identifies where students attend school and what bus they ride.

Hargens said the district plans to have more people answer the phone this week after receiving more than 1200 calls on the first day back. School was supposed to start on Monday but was delayed after weekend storms knocked out power to more than 40 schools along with phone lines and internet.

In large part, JCPS administrators took a nuanced approach to the first day back as one filled with achievements and growing pains.

"There are ways to improve the system," Hargens said. "We solved several glitches... it was nothing out of the ordinary for a district of this size."

The first day back was an improvement, administrators said, on last year when hundreds of students got home late because of busing problems. Some students did not get home until after 9 p.m.

On Wednesday, the last two students were dropped off at 7:13 p.m. Transportation officials with the district said the two students were siblings and because of a "bus driver error" the students were not picked up at Wheatley Elementary. 

Rick Caple with JCPS said the two students stayed at the school with staff until a bus could arrive and get them.

"That's absolutely something the district wants to improve on and again we know that will be better tomorrow," said Hargens.

Caple said many of the problems would be addressed. He said the goal is ensure that "no student" has more than a 90 minute commute. Hargens says she welcomes feedback from parents.

Earlier this afternoon, a JCPS spokesman tells us there was also a minor accident involving a school bus with students from Kammerer Middle School on board.

Ben Jackey says a bus hit a parked car, but nobody was injured.

It happened around 2:45 this afternoon, and the bus driver and students had to wait on LMPD to arrive.

Jackey says this delayed some students from Kammerer and Ballard High School from getting home on time.

School officials from Kammerer say that was the only small glitch they had today.

"It was so minor, that not everyone was even aware of it. Parents were notified that their children would be late getting home. Another bus came to transport, or kids had the option of calling and getting another ride home and parents did just that," says Carolyn Smith, Assistant Principal of Kammerer Middle School.

Officials from Kammerer Middle School say this caused students to be delayed 30 minutes to an hour at the latest, but they say that parents were very understanding.

They say compared to last year, this year was a big improvement so far.

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