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JCPS Really Needs to Get a Clue

October 14, 2011
By

JCPS can’t really get a clue, can they? The whole state, it seems, is striking down the student assignment plan, and they are still fighting to save it. WHY? Where are the stats that show this type of “busing” works? I can’t believe they can approve a transportation budget of that magnitude and continue to underfund school lunches, art and music, for example.  And while gas prices alone are not the reason it should be changed, it seems that money sure could be put to better use.

When I moved here in 1995, I couldn’t believe the number of private schools here in Louisville. Now I know why.

What I can’t believe is that they continue to ignore parents. We are not stupid. We purchase houses (or move to an area) with the specific intent to go to the school in THAT area—that’s not a Jefferson County thing, that’s a people-with-kids thing, all across the country. I know so many realtors and the vast majority of them caution their clients, especially out-of-towners, about JCPS and its crap-shoot of school assignment.  As a matter of fact, we bought a house when our kids were babies just so we could go to the same schools their father went to, our “resides” schools, could walk to them, and for 3 years denied enrollment.  

For the record, I am very happy with our current school, but it wasn’t without a fight.  Just after kindergarten we were shipped to a school that was beyond inconvenient in our lives (it took 3 months of emails, letters, and in person appearances to get our SECOND choice).  Speaking of inconvenient, there are parents in the West End that want their kids to go to THEIR neighborhood schools just as much as East End parents. One very important key to a child’s success is parental involvement.  Would YOU go to a PTA meeting 30 minutes away after you’ve been at work all day?  No, neither would I.  Not all parents have cars, either, and some by choice. So they TARC. Have you ANY idea how long it takes to get from 28th and Broadway to Hurstbourne Lane on a TARC? How can these parents pick up a sick kid when they are clear across the county?

 I am SURE the Board has not even thought of these things.  Is it advantageous for a West End child to attend a “better” East End school, to sit on a bus for 2 hours a day? Or perhaps get an extra hours sleep (anyone with a brain knows that children need LOTS of sleep) and use the other hour to read with their parents (or someone?).  And what about those West End kids who do go to their own neighborhood schools—what’s THEIR message? They aren’t good enough to get to go to the “better” school? When their neighbor comes home from school across town, an hour and a half later, what kind of atmosphere do you think is happening with those kids? I’ve been in social work in the West End. There are some great after school programs going on and some children miss half of that much needed one-on-one time riding the bus. It’s CRAZY.

I am not a fan of magnet schools at the elementary level either, I know 40 year olds that still don’t know what they want to do with their lives.  Magnets have a purpose in education, don’t get me wrong, but in kindergarten? Jeez. But I digress. Let’s focus on transportation.

You can view the entire JCPS budget here: http://www.jefferson.k12.ky.us/departments/FinancialServices/Documents/Financial_Working_Budget_11.pdf

Categorized as “Facilities and Transportation,” you can clearly see where money is being wasted. I’m guessing the categories under “Facilities and Transportation” are the ones that refer to “busing:”

Vehicle Maintenance

$18,027,622.72

Transportation Services

$37,280,987.88

Total

$55,308,610.60

   
 
   
   

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out if buses weren’t criss-crossing each other all over the county and traveling unneeded distances to see that these numbers would dramatically decrease. Even a 10% budget decrease in this area could probably put SmartBoards© in every classroom. Is anyone here with me on this?

There ARE bright aspects about JCPS, but from an elementary standpoint, I completely understand why people filter into the Catholic School System. It’s too much work;  we parents do all of our homework, research, visit, attend Showcase of Schools, and then BAM! – here’s your school (and it’s one you have no idea where it is). It just doesn’t make sense and these Board Members need to start putting the KIDS’ needs first, and not theirs. JCPS is a laughing stock and it’s time they buck-up and get serious. Kentucky has enough issues, can’t we have a winning school system in our largest county? Come on people, speak up!

 

LeighAnn

Leigh Ann Yost is a single, working mother of two young boys, and also a singer-songwriter, among other things. She would like to save the world, but most importantly, raise two socially aware, responsible, caring, and benevolent men.

5 Responses to JCPS Really Needs to Get a Clue

  1. Rob Chapman on October 15, 2011 at 2:23 am

    No wonder people are getting arrested for lying about their address to get kids in Oldham County schools. How can one system be so screwed up and in the next county they are earning national awards?

  2. Cindy Lamb on October 15, 2011 at 6:11 am

    Amen and hide the bus keys.

  3. Gordon Henry on October 15, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    You’re preaching to the choir here. We planned to live in Louisville when we moved to the area, but, even with 5 college degrees between us, my wife and I couldn’t begin to decipher the 3-inch thick manual JCPS uses to try to explain where your kids will go to elementary school. For the last 10 years, we’ve loved living in our Floyd County, IN home and attending FC schools. Now, if we could only work on that bridge thing…

  4. Mike H on October 17, 2011 at 8:08 am

    I agree with everything in this article. Actually, it was so dead on with how I feel, it’s almost as if I wrote this article myself. When will people wake up and demand change? Hopefully soon. It was such an unbelievably difficult and time consuming process to eventually get our daughter into the elementary school we like. Now, if they can just fix the middle and high schools in our area we’d be happy. They’re a mess too!

  5. Christina on September 5, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Busing is one issue that needs people with common sense to make a change, what about inside the schools, were we as parents trust JCPS staff with our children. Schools are now prison institutions with staff as wardens. Yes safety means everything, however it is know that students carry weapons to school, JCPS staff talking to our children like they are nothing such as cursing them, or a tone that is humiliating to a person, when did this become ok. When a child once loved school and their spirit is broken because there is no JCPS staff to trust, harassed and bullied by the same people who suppose to prtect them, when do we stand up for our youth

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