LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) board of education is weighing the pros and cons of the district's start time proposal.

Superintendent Marty Pollio has said the ongoing bus delay issues will only get worse next year, and this proposal could be a solution to the problem. 

Earlier this month, JCPS proposed nine different school start times across the district. Right now, middle and high school instruction starts at 7:40 a.m., while elementary schools start at 9:05 a.m. The plan includes start times ranging from 7:40 a.m. to as late as 10:40 a.m. Most schools would start at either 7:40 a.m., 8:40 a.m. or 9:40 a.m. 

Gloria Uwimana, an eighth grade at Westport Middle School, said she and her classmates spend up to an hour-and-a-half in the gym waiting for the school bus after the school day ends.

"I just talk to my friends and play around," Uwimana said.

Students arriving or staying late can put a burden on staff at schools around the district. JCPS believes that burden will be alleviated with its start time proposal.

"We have wonderful staff that will do just anything to help kids to make sure they're successful, but it does certainly wear on them to come an extra hour early or stay an extra hour in the afternoons," said Jodie Zeller, Westport Middle School principal.

Made with Flourish

Pollio said the proposal can fix the problem because staggering start and end times will decrease the number of bus routes. Under the new proposal, the district can cut down to 600 bus routes and retain its current 650 bus drivers.

If the proposal is not passed, Pollio said the district would have more than 800 bus routes next school year, because additional routes are needed as the district implements its new student assignment plan.

"Unless we do something, missed instruction will continue," Pollio said.

JCPS reports students have missed a total of three million instructional minutes due to bus delay this academic year.

Board member Linda Duncan shared some concern with the plan, pointing out some elementary school students will start earlier and walk to bus stops while it's dark in the morning.

"Safety of these elementary kids trumps the benefits of the later start time for the middle and high school students," Duncan said.

Board of Education president Diane Porter shared concerns she's heard, related to working parents getting their children to school.

"We are obligated to try and work with the people that have the children that are trying to come to school," Porter said.

Board members Joe Marshall, James Craig, Chris Kolb, and Corrie Shull all expressed support over the plan.

Board member Sarah McIntosh was not present for Tuesday's meeting.

The board is expected to vote on the proposal time in March.

To submit feedback, click here. To learn more about the proposal, click here.

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