A Courier-Journal article about the school busing mess in Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) proclaims, “JCPS bus ride times drop for second straight year, district says.” The article amplifies, “The average ride time this school year has actually been reduced to just over 29 minutes each way.”
A graphic accompanies the Courier’s article. I analyzed the data in that graphic and this table shows what I found.
The average ride time may be down from 2008-09 (I don’t have enough data to check that claim), but the facts are that – unless the Courier has an error in its graphic – the percentage of students with ride times under 30 minutes DROPPED between 2009-10 and 2010-11 from 55.8 percent to 55.6 percent. That means MORE kids, NOT FEWER, are riding longer than 30 minutes, one-way, this year compared to last year – as you can see from the bottom row in my table.
Also, while the district has reduced the number of students with grossly excessive rides of over an hour, one-way, there still remain more than 1,000 students who face one-way rides of 61 to 75 minutes. That equates to round-trip daily bus rides for those 1,067 children of over two hours to perhaps as long as 2-1/2 hours. That’s just not acceptable when schools can be found much closer to these students’ homes.
Finally, notice that nearly 2,000 more kids are stuck in the busing system this year compared to last. This monster is still growing.
When you consider all of this, some possible minor improvements in some of the busing numbers don’t outweigh the gruesome reality that the JCPS is still subjecting over ten thousand kids to daily round-trip bus rides that run over an hour, round-trip, and that over 5,500 truly unlucky children have to suffer through round trip busing times of more than 1-1/2 hours every single day.
In closing, we’d love to hear from any of you who know of JCPS bus rides that still exceed 75 minutes, one way, which the school district now claims is the maximum. Ever since the JCPS turned the interpretation of Kentucky Core Content Test reading scores on its ear with its Every1Reads program, I have had a little trouble with their numbers.