JCPS requiring bus monitors on some problem routes - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS requiring bus monitors on some problem routes

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- JCPS says problematic bus routes need more supervision.

We've reported on several drivers who feel unsafe and now JCPS says it's taking a new approach.

"When we realized what a small, isolated problem this was we knew it was a problem we could defeat," said JCPS Chief Operations Officers Dr. Michael Raisor.

He’s talking about student referrals on buses. The write-ups include everything from eating to fighting and most, says Raisor, happen on the same buses.

That’s why the district is now mandating bus monitors, like teachers and instructional assistants, on certain problem routes.

The monitors would be paid their normal hourly wage.

"If we find it as highly effective and we identify that this is the secret sauce for these bus routes, we'll see additional permanent funding for it,” said Raisor.

JCPS records show from the start of this school year up until Friday (Feb. 12), bus drivers handed out 6,500 referrals.

That may seem like a lot, but Raisor says with 70,000 kids taking the bus twice a day, that's more than 14 million opportunities so far this year when students could’ve misbehaved.

"Of the opportunities for misbehavior on buses it's happened .04% of the time. I bet your luggage gets lost more often than that on the airlines," Raisor told WDRB.

Last month, WDRB reported that out of the roughly 950 bus routes, 50 are considered challenging based on past referrals and driver feedback.

"We're gonna target those buses and we're going to have schools put staff members on those buses and this is something that the district is going to fund," Raisor said.

The money will come from the district's transportation budget and schools will be responsible for providing the monitors.

Regarding the mandate, Local Teamsters 783 President John Stovall, who heads the union representing bus drivers, said, "I believe anything the district does that allows our drivers to concentrate on driving is a win-win for our bus drivers."

"We want to do everything that is feasible within our power to support our drivers, keep our kids safe and have a smooth run to and from school every day," said Raisor.

JCPS will talk to schools about the chosen routes - with the monitors hopefully starting by the end of next week.

The district is also working on training volunteers outside of the district to serve as bus monitors.

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