JCPS 2016 legislative agenda opposes charter schools, asks for m - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS 2016 legislative agenda opposes charter schools, asks for more state funding

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Less than a week after Kentucky elected a new governor who says he will push for charter schools, the state's largest school district says it will continue to oppose any legislation that would allow them to operate.

Jefferson County Public Schools officials have included the "opposition of charter schools and opposing the use of public funds for non public schools" as part of the district's nine priorities for the 2016 legislative session, which will be up for discussion during a 4:45 p.m. school board work session on Monday.

The school board is expected to approve the district's legislative agenda during its 7 p.m. meeting.

JCPS has long lobbied against legislation that would allow charter schools to operate in Kentucky.

However, a movement by a group of Jefferson County faith leaders who have been pushing for charter schools has gained momentum recently.

The Kentucky Pastors in Action Coalition says charter schools are particularly needed in west Louisville, because public schools aren't properly educating all students.

Republican lieutenant governor-elect Jenean Hampton was among those who attended a pro charter schools rally outside the JCPS school board meeting held at Westport Middle School last month.

Hampton, who along with Gov.-elect Matt Bevin will be sworn into office on Dec. 8, are both in favor of charter schools, which are publicly funded schools run by private organizations or companies.

The day after he was elected, Bevin specifically called out the "failing schools" in Jefferson and Fayette counties during a radio show appearance, saying public charter schools are needed to replace historically low-performing traditional public schools.

Among the other priorities listed in the JCPS 2016 legislative agenda:

-- JCPS supports increased funding for elementary and secondary education in the 2016-2018 executive branch budget, including an increase in the state's per pupil funding formula, as well as increased funding for early childhood education and an increase in grant funding to support students with a history of adverse childhood experiences or other barriers to learning.

-- Lobby to allow JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens the authority to select principals, while still “maintaining a central role for the school-based decision making council in the decision”

-- Supporting the development and piloting of innovative alternative assessment and accountability models to reduce time devoted to statewide testing.

-- Supporting legislation that would solve the problem of underfunded liabilities of the retirement systems that serve school district employees and the development of a plan to fund and maintain the Kentucky Teachers' Retirement System and the County Employees Retirement System on a sound basis.

-- Supporting legislation that supports continued local school board control over school calendars and opposes any legislation that would take away flexibility on issues of start dates, breaks in the year and other issues tied to the academic calendar.

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