After just one day of the 2023-2024 school year, school officials in Kentucky have canceled days two and three. This comes after changes to the school start times and bus routes derailed student drop-offs. On day one (Aug.9), some students reportedly got home at nearly 10 p.m., per the Associated Press.
The temporary closures applied to Jefferson County Public Schools. Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio made the announcement on Thursday morning, starting with apologies.
“Today, after making one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult, decisions of my superintendent career, and that was to cancel day two and day three of the school year, Thursday and Friday. First and foremost, I want to take this opportunity to apologize for last night,” Dr.Pollio said. First, I want to apologize to our students. I know many of you had to wait on buses or wait in your school for several hours, and I truly apologize for that. I know how unnerving and unsettling that must of been for even our youngest students, but all of our students. I truly apolgize to you.”
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JCPS’ Superintendent Pollio also apologized to the parents, relating to their distress through his experience as a father.
“I apologize to our families, our parents. I know as a dad what that must of been like, how unnerving that must have been, waiting for your child to get home and not knowing exactly where they are or were. I truly apologize for that.”
A message and apology from @JCPSSuper to JCPS students, families, and staff regarding the busing issues we experienced yesterday and how we will work to fix them. #WeAreJCPShttps://t.co/OlUXUCM8X4
— JCPS (@JCPSKY) August 10, 2023
Kentucky Superintendent Apologizes To Bus Drivers, Says The Blame Isn’t On Them
Students and parents weren’t the only ones receiving apologies on behalf of the JCPS. The bus drivers responsible also received sympathy from Dr. Pollio for Wednesday’s transportation mishaps.
“I apologize to our bus drivers. We put a lot on you in this changed process. I know you are working hard. We apologize to you for the difficulties and challenges you faced…” Dr. Pollio added.
The superintendent also gave apologies and props to school personnel who stayed behind to help with the waiting students.
“And the difficult part for me, it was a great day in our schools. I saw some incredible instruction, kids excited, families excited, new school buildings and to have it end with the transportation disaster that we had last night was truly unacceptable and I apologize for that.”
Here’s How JCPS Plans To Address Issues With School Bus Routes
Dr. Pollio added that the “massive change” JCPS is undertaking is “extremely difficult.” However, the superintendent doesn’t want to use that as “an excuse.” He says the responsibility of fixing the kinks in their new system rests on his and his team’s shoulders–not the bus drivers or school personnel.
Starting Thursday, school officials will spend four days (before Monday’s resumed classes) reviewing the new school bus routes and stops for efficiency. Bus drivers will also be paid extra days to practice the new routes.
JCPS also plans to make improvements to communication systems between their educational institutions and parents/guardians, including “dramatically increasing” their call center. According to their website, the county services more than 96,000 students.
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