National consultant helps JCPS with busing problems

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by Gene Kang

WHAS11.com

Posted on February 18, 2011 at 1:59 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 18 at 2:04 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky.  (WHAS11)-  A national consulting firm is in town to help Jefferson County Public Schools with their busing problems.

It is a possible breakthrough for frustrated parents.
 
Mandy Perez is no stranger to long rides on JCPS buses.

She says it takes her 9-year-old son over an hour everyday to commute to Tully Elementary School.
 
“He’s dealing with a bus compound and the afternoon ride he gets out of school shortly after 3:00 and doesn’t get home until 5:00 simply because of the way the busing is structured,” said Perez.
 
Could a consultant have the answers to Jefferson County's busing problems?

Chris Andrews with Transportation Advisory Services is in town.

The national consulting firm has helped more than 400 school districts with busing issues. JCPS Board member Carol Haddad was the first to ask for help months ago.
 
“In fact, I was the one who made the motion to get a consultant in here to look at student assignment and transportation because it’s just a mess right now,” said Haddad.
 
Some principals want to get rid of lanyards that elementary school students wear to show which bus they should ride.

Instead, a luggage tag would be attached to backpacks.

That is one possible plan, but the consultant is still weeks away from a final strategy.
 
“He’s working with the administration. He’s looking at maps and talking to a lot of people. He’s probably going to take some rides to see what the timelines are,” said Haddad.
 
“We do need to fix it and if he’s worked with all of these schools maybe he can see something that we’re not seeing,” said Perez.
 
Haddad says the consulting firm could make a recommendation at a board meeting as early as March, with new plans in place by next school year.
 

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