© 2024 Louisville Public Media

Public Files:
89.3 WFPL · 90.5 WUOL-FM · 91.9 WFPK

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact info@lpm.org or call 502-814-6500
89.3 WFPL News | 90.5 WUOL Classical 91.9 WFPK Music | KyCIR Investigations
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Stream: News Music Classical

JCPS busing contractor disputes audit findings in report sent to school board

A school bus pulls out of a parking space in a large lot under a hazy sunrise.
Jess Clark
JCPS buses leave the Detrick and Nichols Bus Compound after the 8:15 a.m. transfer on Monday, Aug. 21, 2023.

AlphaRoute sent a 16-page report to Jefferson County Board of Education members, challenging the findings of a scathing audit.

The tech company that designed JCPS’ troubled transportation plan is doubling down on its pushback against a withering audit.

AlphaRoute submitted a 16-page “formal response” to Jefferson County Board of Education members last week, according to a company spokesperson.

The response, which AlphaRoute shared with LPM News, details many points of contention previously made by CEO John Hanlon. Hanlon told LPM in March that several findings of the audit, conducted by Prismatic Services, were inaccurate, including the finding that AlphaRoute overlooked nearly all students from two separate schools. Hanlon also disputes the timeline put forward in the Prismatic report and contends that AlphaRoute is not to blame for the product being delivered so close to the start of the school year.

In addition to disputing Prismatic’s findings, the AlphaRoute response accuses Prismatic of revealing the tech company’s proprietary information when the auditor included screenshots of AlphaRoute’s software in its April report.

“AlphaRoute’s current and future competitors now have access to such things, which can be damaging to AlphaRoute’s business, as these images reveal proprietary information specific to how AlphaRoute has built this software,” the counter report reads.

The AlphaRoute response also reiterated Hanlon’s contention that Prismatic Services has a conflict of interest in auditing AlphaRoute, since Prismatic also works with districts on bus routing and scheduling.

In a statement Prismatic founder and lead auditor Tatia Prieto said the company stands by its findings.

“Each statement included in that report was sourced via interviews, emails, district and other documents, and observations,” Prieto wrote.

Prieto also argued that the AlphaRoute response contained “myriad inaccuracies,” including the assertion that Prismatic is an AlphaRoute competitor with a conflict of interest.

She pushed back against Hanlon’s argument that the solution AlphaRoute delivered in May was meant to be the final product, saying emails and interviews led her team to conclude the files provided at that time were incomplete and were shared so that JCPS staff could look at “bus stop placement, not to evaluate the routes overall.”

In its report, AlphaRoute contends the company delivered JCPS a final product in May, but that the district asked the company to create an entirely new solution with new data in June. That was why the final routes were not delivered until July, according to Hanlon.

Prieto also noted that there were many findings AlphaRoute did not dispute. She added that JCPS decided to cut magnet transportation this year to solve the busing issue.

“If the challenges that JCPS experienced on August 9, 2023 were caused solely by factors outside of AlphaRoute’s work, which included determining the bell schedule and the bus routes, it is hard to imagine that JCPS would have felt the need to take such drastic action,” the Prismatic statement reads.

Neither the district spokesperson or any of its seven board members responded to requests for comment by our deadline.

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

Can we count on your support?

Louisville Public Media depends on donations from members – generous people like you – for the majority of our funding. You can help make the next story possible with a donation of $10 or $20. We'll put your gift to work providing news and music for our diverse community.