JCPS has a rich history reaching back to the early nineteenth century.
The Louisville Public Schools began in 1829. On April 14, 1829, the Louisville Mayor and Council established a public school for children under 16 years of age, and on August 17, 1829, a school was opened at the southwest corner of Fifth and Green (now Liberty) Streets in the rented upper story of the Baptist Church. In September 1830, the first public school building in the Louisville Public School district was opened at the corner of Fifth and Walnut (now Muhammad Ali Boulevard) Streets.
JCPS traces its origins to an act of the legislature of Kentucky, which established a system of common schools in the state in 1838. Official reports begin with the 1840 Annual Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The Common Schools of Jefferson County reported that 30 schools were "districted previous to 1840." Reports made by the Commission of the Common Schools of Jefferson County to the state superintendent of public instruction, beginning with the 1876-1877 school year, report 68 public schools in Jefferson County. The first superintendent was elected by popular vote in 1884. Many smaller districts were gradually merged or incorporated into the JCPS district.
The Louisville Public Schools and the Jefferson County Public Schools merged April 1, 1975, into the present Jefferson County Public School (JCPS) District.