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Top JCPS operations official reassigned following bus debacle

JCPS school bus parked outside The Academy @ Shawnee.
J. Tyler Franklin
Bus drivers say they warned managers that the longer, more complicated routes would not work, but that higher-ups didn’t listen.

Jefferson County Public Schools has reassigned Chris Perkins, one of the officials who oversaw a botched transportation overhaul.

Perkins, a former math teacher and high school administrator, had served as JCPS’ chief operations officer since his appointment in 2020. His department oversaw the switch to a new transportation plan, which failed catastrophically on the first day of school.

Bus drivers say they warned managers that the longer, more complicated routes would not work, but that higher-ups didn’t listen.

The district is still dealing with delays and crowding. Significant improvements likely won’t be made until next fall.

The district has named Rob Fulk as interim COO. Fulk is a former high school administrator and most recently served as JCPS’ assistant superintendent of middle schools.

JCPS spokesperson Carolyn Callahan said Perkins has “accepted reassignment” but would not provide further information. It’s not clear if his reassignment is connected to the busing crisis.

The district often reassigns employees when they are under investigation or facing disciplinary action. But employees can be reassigned for other reasons as well.

LPM News put in a records request for Perkins’ personnel files and is expecting more information in the coming days.

In the wake of the busing crisis, there has been little talk from Jefferson County Board of Education members or JCPS staff about personnel changes. Rather, board members have reiterated their support for JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio, the only employee they have the authority to hire or fire.

While many board members scolded staff for the failure in the first board meeting after the disaster, District 6 board member Corrie Shull was the only member to suggest a shake-up.

“It sounds as though people just didn't do their jobs. ... It seems to me that we do not have the right people on the bus,” he said, using a metaphor.

The board is in the process of selecting a firm to run an independent audit of the first-day transportation meltdown.

Perkins did not respond to a request for comment by our deadline.

Support for this story was provided in part by the Jewish Heritage Fund.

Jess Clark is LPMs Education and Learning Reporter. Email Jess at jclark@lpm.org.

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