A Winner: WAVE Exposes JCPS Bus Rides For Sweeps

It’s week 1 of the February Sweeps in local TV, and last night might be considered the kickoff, as WAVE, WHAS and WLKY all unveiled investigative pieces. And WAVE certainly came out ahead with its revealing series by Eric Flack on the longest bus rides in the JCPS system.

WAVE touched a nerve exposing long bus rides

Flack followed some buses around and found that, contrary to the P.R. being paraded around by JCPS, there are actually kids riding a bus 100 minutes to get to school, passing up to 3 legitimate schools on the way. He found bus drivers making erratic U-turns. There was the typical annoyed parent interview.

But the best part was watching Sheldon Berman and Transportation chief Rick Caple squirm as they watched the video. Berman, as he always does, said the majority of parents are happy, that “we’re doing quite well.”  While Caple, clearly unaccustomed to the spotlight, offered up excuses about how many kids the system has to serve, and said the problems were exaggerated. It was the best evidence yet for ditching the student assignment plan.

“We try to do the best we can,” Berman said somberly when confronted with Flack’s video. “The thing you don’t report is how many people are really satisfied.”

If it takes 1:20 to get to school on a clear day, can you imagine what happens when there’s bad weather. And do you think that factors into those decisions to cancel school at the sight of a few snowflakes?

Over at WLKY, Steve Burgin’s piece on panhandling was the result of a 2-month investigation. While it’s a good piece of journalism, the only news here was that panhandlers get arrested, get out, and then go back and do it again.

And at WHAS-TV, investigative reporter Adam Walser discovered a scam perpetrated by operators of Chinese restaurant owners, who wait until they get themselves in debt and are faced with actually paying taxes before shutting down their business and setting up shop in another city. He found a couple that owes various contractors $700,000, who once lived in a $270,000 home in Jeffersontown, now operating a new restaurant in Nashville.

3 Comments on "A Winner: WAVE Exposes JCPS Bus Rides For Sweeps"

  1. I had a long commute on my bus rides back in the day–though I chose to go to a high school across town. It wasn’t because the academics were great, it was because of the magnet program. Many students at Shawnee commuted across town, actually; getting a free private pilot’s license was worth it. I’d say a lot of students do the same at other schools. That’s one thing that’s not being considered in this whole debate that shouldn’t be left out.

  2. It’s one thing if you CHOOSE to go to a school far away from your home, but that is not the case for many of these kids. JCPS wanted to ship my Kindergartener 21 miles away from home last year. Our transfer request was denied so we left JCPS and went private. Luckily this year we were able to get her into the JCPS school in our neighborhood. It shouldn’t be that difficult. JCPS is too large to focus on 100,000 students. It needs to be split into three smaller school districts to better serve Louisville’s children.

  3. Former decade long JCPS teacher here. Berman believes that “parents are satisfied?” Parents are uninformed. If they knew what is being hidden and misdirected they would stroke. What should have been taken further was that this 100 minute bus ride results (conservatively) in about 3 hours per day. Let’s do the math. That’s 15 hours per week, or 2 extra school day’s time. These kids have 7 days worth of school time per week. 42 hours per week vs. 35 for non-bussed students. They stay “in school” 40% longer than those not bussed. Factor in homework, and prep time… What a waste.

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