Parents await outcome of assignment plan suit - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Parents await outcome of assignment plan suit

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Some parents are waiting for the outcome of JCPS' controversial student assignment plan, which is being challenged in court.  Now thirteen families are part of the lawsuit.

It was a packed courtroom as families testified why they want Jefferson County Public School's controversial student assignment plan to be thrown out.

Terilynn Ralston says her six-year-old 1st grader is assigned to their fourth choice, Martin Luther King Elementary, when Dunn is much closer.  The distance is fifteen miles.  "He would have to change buses at a depot," Ralston says, "and then take one bus from Westport Middle School."

Parents say state law requires children to be enrolled in the school nearest to their homes. But JCPS disagrees and stands by its plan to increase diversity at the schools. Students are assigned based on factors such as household income and minority population in geographic areas.

This year bus rides will be no longer than 75 minutes, with a goal of 60 minutes.  Superintendent Sheldon Berman JCPS Superintendent, explains, "The issue is not necessarily busing and value at the end of the ride.  I happen to believe it's creating exceptional value."

And JCPS attorney Byron Leet says, "It turned into a big political debate about how students ought to be assigned to schools.  It's not for the court system to make decisions about how to decide who should be assigned to schools.  It's up to the court system to make sure the law is being followed."

The school system says it would cause huge problems if Judge Irv Maze overturns the assignment plan with less than two weeks until school starts.  Some parents in the meantime are making other plans for their students.

The plaintiff's attorney, Teddy Gordon: "If they have enough money, they'll go private, parochial, or go out of county."

Meanwhile, Terilynn Ralston says, "I think there could be a better plan, to achieve diversity has to be a better way."

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