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An overly ambitious redesign of bus routes for Louisville’s school district turned into a logistical meltdown on the first day of classes, forcing schools to close.
Administrators said that students may have to stay home until the mess is untangled.
Parents were fuming and state politicians demanded answers after some of the district’s 96,000 students didn’t get picked up for school in the morning or got home hours late, with some arriving after dark.
Beau Kilpatrick has five kids attending schools in the district but said the only major transportation problems were with his elementary-school-aged children, two girls in the first and third grades. The morning bus was supposed to arrive at 8:38 a.m. but never came, he said. After half an hour of waiting, he drove them to the school a few miles away. In the afternoon, the bus was almost two hours late for pickup.
Kilpatrick said the children had to sit in a school hallway while waiting for the bus to arrive because the cafeteria was already full. Then the children weren’t dropped off until three hours later, at 9:15 p.m.
Berkley Collins, a mother of two students in the district, said her younger daughter was never assigned an afternoon bus and was left at her elementary school for hours. Collins said the district had plenty of time to implement its new bus plan, but failed.
It took just one disastrous day for Jefferson County Public Schools, a sprawling urban district and the largest in Kentucky, to reexamine the new bus routing system. The plan was designed by AlphaRoute, a Massachusetts-based consulting company that uses computer algorithms to map out courses and stops.
It could take a couple of days to resolve the problems enough to resume classes, Superintendent Marty Pollio said, promising to give parents plenty of notice before the start of the week.
The district has 65,000 bus riders, according to its website.
This article was provided by The Associated Press.