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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Make improvements to failing schools or the state could take over. That's the message from the Kentucky Department of Education to JCPS.
JCPS School Board Vice Chair Carol Haddad was at Tuesday's 90 minute meeting with the Kentucky Education Commissioner Dr. Terry Holliday, the JCPS Superintendent, and Board Chair Diane Porter.
"I think we have some issues I don't think we're denying," Haddad said. "Some people do, but it's not true. The test scores tell it, but we want to find ways to help."
Haddad says they talked about improvements the district needs to make, as outlined in Holliday's six-page letter to JCPS.
Holliday says the district has 18 of the lowest-performing schools in the state and must make improvements or the state could take over some of the failing schools.
He says the district has yet to provide the state with a clear strategy for improving those schools and says JCPS hasn't given principals and assistant superintendents proper training in turnaround strategies.
Holliday has said the state could take over the district's turnaround efforts, if the concerns aren't addressed by August when new test scores are released.
He says he'll also review the results from the 2013 school report cards to determine the next steps that include a district leadership audit and/or a district management audit.
"Right now, they are getting ready to do the testing which will be 'the test' which will tell us," Haddad said. "But I think it's what we put in place that will really be telling to him, whether we can do it."
The letter also talks about ongoing "perception issues" with the Jefferson County Teacher's Association and includes real and perceived restrictions around hiring and placement of staff.
The JCTA says it has made repeated requests to meet with Holliday to talk about the issues, but he has not responded.
Brent McKim, the JCTA President says, "Rather than sitting down to talk with us, what we get is finger pointing, name calling, the sort of things that happen in elementary school. We've got to get together and cooperate to help all these kids to be successful."
JCPS Superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens released a statement about Tuesday's meeting and says it focused on the mutual goal of improving communication and aligning efforts to benefit students.
She goes on to say, "JCPS continues to address the concerns Dr. Holliday first brought to us last month and will collaborate with KDE to review the recommendations and remove any barriers to student success."
"It isn't him coming and demanding that he take over, it's what can we do to make it successful together," Haddad said. "It's about both the state and the district."