Louisville lawmaker pushes neighborhood schools bill - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville lawmaker pushes neighborhood schools bill

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The controversy over busing in Jefferson County Schools has flared up again at the State Capitol. A Louisville lawmaker is again pushing a bill calling for neighborhood schools.

The bill, SB 216, would change state law to allow students to attend the school nearest to their home.  "This is my attempt, quite frankly, to get the kids out of the buses and into the schools," Sen. Dan Seum told the Senate Education Committee.

Seum's bill comes after last year's Kentucky Supreme Court ruling that the law allowing students to enroll in the nearest school, does not mean they can also attend that school.

SB 216 changes that law to read "enroll and attend."

"And it just seems to me, that if we got the time to bus a child two hours a day, an at-risk child, sticking him or her on a bus for two hours a day, we could probably put an extra hour in the classroom and maybe educate them," Seum testified.

The Education Committee passed the bill with just four "no" votes -- all Democrats. They say enrollment decisions should be left up to local school boards.

"I truly believe that we need to leave decisions in various counties up to the elected officials that are closest to and know the schools the best," said Lexington Sen. Kathy Stein.

But Seum says that argument does not fly in Jefferson Co.  "My local school board has completely and totally failed the children of Jefferson Co. We have one of the worst school systems in the state, and if they can't do the job, maybe I can help," he said.

But State Senator Gerald Neal of Louisville disagreed.  I think this is a distraction, a diversion. I think it creates all kind of strains and, even on some levels, animosity within the district," said Neal.

SB 216 will likely pass the Republican Senate, but just as likely die in the Democratically-controlled House.

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