JCPS walk-ins continue; district to increase security for Tuesda - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS walk-ins continue; district to increase security for Tuesday's school board meeting

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Academy @ Shawnee walk-in on Monday, May 9, 2016 (Photo by Toni Konz, WDRB News) Academy @ Shawnee walk-in on Monday, May 9, 2016 (Photo by Toni Konz, WDRB News)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The school day started with another loud show of support for Jefferson County Public Schools teachers and other employees.

More than 100 people gathered outside the Academy @ Shawnee on Monday morning, a result of proposed changes to the student code of conduct and to freeze the salaries of those employees who make more than $14 an hour.

"What do we do when our teachers are under attack? We stand up and we fight back," said former Metro Councilwoman and parent Attica Scott, who yelled on a bullhorn and helped lead the rally. 

She shouted, "I join Gay (Adelmann) in being outraged that we would dare put a freeze on the pay of the people who make it possible for this school system to function each and everyday."

Adelmann is a parent of an Academy @ Shawnee senior and co-founder of Dear JCPS, an advocacy group. She helped organize the walk-in.

The walk-in Monday is one of nearly 140 walk-ins held at the district's 155 schools in the past week. In addition, 200 students at Pleasure Ridge Park High walked out of school on Wednesday in support of their teachers.

Thousands of parents, teachers, students, community members and other district employees have participated in the rallies, which start either before the start of the day or after the day is over.

"And the proposals that the superintendent has brought to the school board would take us in the wrong direction in terms of safety and in terms of attracting and keeping great teachers in the classrooms," said Brent McKim, president of the Jefferson County Teacher's Association.

McKim said the walk in was an effort to build momentum before Tuesday's school board meeting. "This is the community saying to the school board...if you think salaries are a good thing then don't freeze them - build on that."

The walk-ins started after a study found JCPS is paying teachers and other positions above average salaries, and then an advisory team recommended a freeze, initially scheduled to be approved at Tuesday's meeting.

"We're proud of the fact that we pay a premium for our teachers. We know that has allowed us to attract and retain the very best educators out there," said Jennifer Brislin, JCPS deputy communications director.

Brislin said Superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens supports teachers and staff and has even attended a few walk ins, but Brislin also believes some of the facts have been twisted.

She explained "I think there is some misinformation. I think anytime you talk about people's livelihood it gets their attention, it makes them very understandably nervous."

Brislin said neither salaries nor the code of conduct are on Tuesday's agenda, however, people will be allowed to speak on the issues.

"We actually already to have individuals that have signed up," said Brislin.

JCPS is expecting a large crowd on Tuesday and will have extra security on hand to make sure things remain orderly.

The district is also expected to have overflow rooms available for those who will not fit in the auditorium.

JCTA and three of the district's other unions -- AFSCME, SEIU and Teamsters -- have formed an alliance against the district to let their voices be heard and show board members the overwhelming lack of support in the district's proposals.

All four unions say they will "pack the house" at Tuesday's board meeting, regardless of the weather, which is expected to be rainy.

"They don't think we will stand out in the rain," McKim said. "But we have two things -- we have determination and we have umbrellas."

Copyright 2016 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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