LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Next week, on Aug. 10, students from Kentucky’s largest school district, Jefferson County Public Schools head back to the classroom. Superintendent Marty Pollio and other JCPS administrators held a press conference just before the weekend to discuss issues and changes that could affect JCPS students and parents this school year.

What You Need To Know

  • The first day back to school for JCPS is Wednesday, Aug. 10

  • Superintendent Marty Pollio and other administrators held a press conference just before the weekend

  • They discussed issues and changes that could affect JCPS students and parents this school year

  • Bus delays, more security and mandatory masks are a few things to note for the start of this school year

Pollio was at Farnsley Middle School in Louisville Friday to talk about this school year.

“We are excited to get going,” he said.

Like many school districts, JCPS is still facing staffing shortages, especially with hiring bus drivers and teachers.

“What we did differently this year than we did last year is we anticipated that; we’ve attacked it over the summer. We’ve made some changes to our staffing models and so to make sure that we have a certified teacher in every single classroom for our students,” Pollio explained.

Because of the bus driver shortage, JCPS Transportation Administrator Marcus Dobbs said bus routes have been merged like last year, which means buses may be more crowded and ride times could be longer. He added that 70 JCPS bus routes don’t have drivers, so JCPS drivers will also have to cover those routes. 

“Meaning after they complete their assigned route, they will go back and head out to cover an uncovered bus route and transport those students to school,” Dobbs explained.

Pollio said bus delays could be up to 45 minutes for students. However, he said if a student is late because of a school bus delay, they will be excused.

“We will get every student to school safely. Some students will just be delayed a little more than others,” Dobbs also said.

On Monday, Aug. 8, parents can check the district’s website for information on which schools will be affected by the uncovered bus routes. JCPS is asking parents of those schools to carpool or drive students to school if they can, to help. In addition, parents and students can check Bus Finder online, which provides a school bus’s updated times, stops, and bus number assigned to a student based on their school.

The district’s security has also been beefed up. Every middle and high school will have a safety administrator to oversee safety and security, and a team of six safety administrators will oversee all the elementary schools.

The school district now has a sanctioned police agency, too, with 16 sworn law enforcement officers.

“These are individuals with prior law-enforcement experience. So they will be school safety officers. Additionally, we also have 14 district security monitors that will provide support to our schools,” JCPS Chief Operations Officer Chris Perkins said.

Some JCPS schools also got upgraded security features such as security vestibules at the front of each entrance, which is a security system to control who has access to come inside the school. Some school also got new security cameras. 

Universal masking is also still in place, since it was implemented over the summer on July 25. Masks are required in all JCPS facilities and on buses.

Lastly, parents with students at a non-community eligibility school can apply online to see if their kids are eligible for free or reduced-price meals this school year. A waiver that allowed all U.S.  students to eat for free at school during the pandemic was not extended by congress this year. Therefore, Community Eligibility (CE) and Non-CE school eligibility will be back in place along with regular meal service.