JCPS board approves 'wish list' that would allow superintendent - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS board approves 'wish list' that would allow superintendent to replace outgoing principals

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JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens speaks at the school board meeting Monday night. JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens speaks at the school board meeting Monday night.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Picking a principal for an under-performing school may soon be a new option for the superintendent of JCPS.

Monday night, the board approved a wish list that includes giving Superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens that ability.

"The issue is about more flexibility to put the right leader in the right situation which will benefit teachers and students,” said Hargens.

The JCPS superintendent addressed board members Monday night saying whenever there's an open principal position, she wants to make sure it's filled with the right person as quickly as possible.

"So it isn't taking somebody and forcing them into a situation,” she said, “it's finding someone who has the passion and the skills to be able to lead the school forward."

The idea is part of the district's "wish list" to state lawmakers.

"Right now it's up to the site-based decision making council at each school, unless the authority's been stripped by the commissioner," said education reporter Toni Konz.

Konz says the district supports legislation that would give Dr. Hargens a say in picking the principal, if a spot opens up in an underperforming school; one that's in the bottom 25% or on its way down. Parents, teachers and staff could weigh in too and the SBDM council would still have a say.

"That's not really something the superintendent wants to take the power and authority away from,” said Konz, “she said she would do it in conjunction with people in the community so how that would be done it just depending on how the legislation would be drafted."

There are 155 schools in the JCPS district and 18 are considered PLA. That means more than 10 percent of schools are “Persistently Low Achieving”.

"We know that we need our best people in our highest need situations.” said Hargens, “so this would just give me the opportunity to find a person that really wants the challenge and we have lots of talented people we believe would step up to the challenge.”

The wish list now heads to lawmakers and it'll be up to them to decide if and when the legislation needs to change.

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