JCPS families and staff call for equitable transportation for students, school board cancels vote

Central High School 11th graders Jeylin Cano Solis (left) and Anaya Coleman (right) hold up signs in front of the Van Hoose center. Photo by Lydia Morgan
Central High School 11th graders Jeylin Cano Solis (left) and Anaya Coleman (right) hold up signs in front of the Van Hoose center. Photo by Lydia Morgan
Lydia Morgan

Awaiting the decision on transportation for the 2024-25 school year, students, teachers and parents crowded around the steps in front of the JCPS Van Hoose Center on Tuesday evening holding up signs reading “No Bus No Us.” 

Since the school board meeting was at full capacity, people stood outside with their phones in hand to listen in to the livestream of the meeting.

JCPS has had issues with the school bus system for years; the lack of bus drivers and abundance of routes has made it difficult to accommodate for the district’s 65,000 bus riders. Following the busing crisis on the first day of the 2023-24 school year, the board discussed four possible options to improve the transportation system.

JCPS officially recommended option one, which would cut all transportation for magnet and traditional schools. Although they were expected to vote on these options during the Tuesday meeting on March 26, the board postponed the decision until April 16.

Many of those who showed up outside the Van Hoose Center were students and teachers from Central High School. They shared their strong opposition to option one.

“This is just so unfair to the Central students and Manual students, [they] got to pay the price for the entire busing situation and there’s 16,000 [magnet and traditional students] to be affected and that’s just not right,” Central STEM teacher Jim Gilbert said. “We just want to make sure all options are covered before they make their decision.”

Students expressed their concern of losing diversity and opportunities provided in magnet schools. Keshawn Johnson, a junior in the Law and Government magnet at Central, spoke highly of the experiences his school has provided him with.

“There’s a reason we came to Central, and it’s for these opportunities. I have been able to go on a full-paid trip to D.C. to lobby to get more funding for magnet schools. I have been able to speak on radio stations to bring awareness to different situations,” Johnson said.

Another main worry concerning the elimination of busing for magnet schools is the strain this would have on students of color and those living in the West End.

Many students spoke during an audit at the beginning of the meeting to criticize the board’s lack of equitable options. Among them was Manual student Avery Tandy (10, HSU), representing Manual’s Black Student Union.

“Seeing as Manual isn’t a reside school, all of the diversity that comes in is through the product of busing. So not only will the diversity decrease due to the lack of busing but it will also just decrease the population of Manual. That also leads to the academic successes depleting as well. As we know magnet schools have more resources than non-magnet schools and that shows up in our test scores,” Tandy said.

The next board meeting will take place on Tuesday, April 16, when the board is expected to make an official decision.

“We just want to make sure all options are covered before they make their decision.”

— Jim Gilbert, STEM teacher at Central High School

“Keep fighting the fight,” Central Class of 2024 Vice President Tyren Porter said.

 

About the Contributors
Kaelin Gaydos, Editor in Chief
Kaelin Gaydos is the Editor In Chief of Manual RedEye. You can contact her at [email protected].
Lydia Morgan, Staffer
Lydia Morgan is a staffer on the Student Life team of Manual RedEye. In her free time, she enjoys dancing, reading and spending time outside. You can contact her at [email protected].
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