The new academic year for Jefferson County Public Schools starts on August 17th, and officials are fine-tuning their plans for the year.
Of particular concern is transportation. Roughly 63 thousand students will ride buses to and from school. Many parents have complained about long bus rides caused by the elementary student assignment plan. Director for facilities and transportation Mike Mulheirn says most bus routes have been adjusted to reduce ride times.
“We’ve added 25 to 30 additional buses and that will be adjusted,” he says. “Although we’ve added every student we know of, we still have people moving to town who haven’t even called us up and said, ‘Hey, where do I go to school and where do I get a bus?’ We’re constantly working on that.”
Superintendent Sheldon Berman says the district will reduce ride times, but perspective is needed.
“Many of us, when we went to school, rode an hour on the bus,” he says. “The students who go to some of our magnet schools have always had long rides. Long rides are not exceptional, necessarily. What we want to do is ensure that we get them in as close to or under 60 minutes.”
Across the district, several school buildings are still undergoing repairs. Mulheirn says almost all work will be done by the start of classes.
“Our biggest project is Iroquois High School. That’s an $11 million project and we’ve been doing it in ten weeks and the contractor has been working like clockwork in multi-shifts and they’re delivering. In fact, we’re putting furniture back in the building as we speak.”
Exact enrollment and bus numbers will not be available until later in the school year.