KONZ | JCPS wants superintendent authority to select principals - WDRB 41 Louisville News

KONZ | JCPS wants superintendent authority to select principals in low-performing schools

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Donna Hargens wants the authority to select principals at the district's lowest performing schools, according to a revised copy of the district's legislative wish list that will be presented to the school board Monday night.

Two weeks ago, the district had asked the school board to approve a much broader request -- legislation that would grant superintendents across Kentucky greater authority in the selection and assignment of principals at all schools.

Due to comments and concerns from several board members over the language and scope of the request, the district is now asking for legislation that would apply to Louisville only. 

The revised legislative request reads:

"JCPS supports legislation to give the superintendent of a county school district in a county containing a City of the First Class the authority to select a principal when a vacancy occurs in a school that is in the lowest quartile on statewide assessments, or is otherwise in precipitate decline, or when a school-based decision making council and superintendent agree. The selection would be informed by input received from teachers, parents, staff, and community members regarding selection criteria and made in consultation with the school-based decision making council."

Under state law, cities in Kentucky are classified by class and Louisville is the state's only "first class" city.

"We are asking for a piece of legislation that would apply to Louisville/Jefferson County only," said Helene Kramer, a JCPS spokeswoman. "In order to do that, it has to be written in a way that distinguishes Louisville/Jefferson County as unique. Hence, we are the only first class city in Kentucky, making JCPS the only school district in a first class city."

Under current state law, each school's site-based decision making council has the authority to select and hire principals, unless the council's authority has been stripped by Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday.

In other action, the school board is expected to approve a $150,000 grant from Norton Healthcare that would provide additional football helmets, more athletic trainers and widespread baseline concussion testing.

In addition, JCPS is also receiving additional funding from Gov. Steve Beshear's office for the Every 1 Reads Nurses Initiative.

On Oct. 27, the school board accepted funding in the amount of $225,700 for the nurses initiative, but the Kentucky Department of Education has since issued a revised award notification that includes $451,400 in total funding for the 2014-15 fiscal year.

Reporter Antoinette Konz can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.

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