First day of school transportation has few early problems


by Adam Walser

Posted on August 21, 2012 at 5:29 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 21 at 6:32 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- The sheer number of students at bus depots throughout Jefferson County Public Schools can make it look like chaos.

But in reality, JCPS officials say it's a well rehearsed plan, that came together well.

"There's so many preparations into making the first day of school a great day," Tracy Barber, Principal of Okalona Elementary School, said.

At that school, teachers and administrators spent part of the day making sure each student knew where to go at the end of the day.

About 320 students attend the school, out of 100,000 students enrolled in Jefferson County Public Schools.

An estimated 70 percent of them ride the bus each day.

That means bus drivers are logging about 100,000 miles a day on Louisville's streets, or the distance of around four times the distance around the Earth.

JCPS employees spent the day closely watching everything, to make sure nothing went wrong.

"This afternoon, making sure we are on top of any situation. We have spare buses in case there are any delays from the secondary schools to the elementary so we could insert a spare bus and make sure that things continue to run smoothly," Michael Raisor, Chief Operating Officer for JCPS, said.

On Tuesday morning, the last bus to arrive at any school was only 35 minutes late.

School officials hope the ride home will go just as well, but they know it will likely be somewhat of a challenge.

"Expect that there's gonna be a few delays because the care, welfare, safety and security of our students is so important to us that we're gonna take our time to make sure we have everything right before the buses leave our schools," Raisor said.

After all, the first day of school is about far more than getting there and getting home.

"It's about discipline and hard work and learning. We're excited about the focus and each of our schools is aligned perfectly with the strategic plan and they're focused and ready," JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens said.

"I just couldn't ask for a better start to a great year," Principal Barber said.