Petition to oust JCPS superintendent Hargens reaches thousands o - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Petition to oust JCPS superintendent Hargens reaches thousands of signatures

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JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Jefferson County Public Schools parent who started an online petition seeking the removal of Superintendent Donna Hargens has gotten more than 4,000 signatures in less than a week.

Tim Druck's daughter is in the eighth grade at Farnsley Middle School. He started the petition on the website www.change.org on Wednesday and says he will deliver it to the Jefferson County Board of Education at its meeting on Tuesday.

He says he was prompted to start the petition amid proposed changes to the JCPS student code of conduct, which would reduce punishments for some offenses that would typically remove thousands of students from class each year and another proposal that would freeze the pay of JCPS employees who earn more than $14 an hour for the 2016-17 year.

"Donna Hargens has failed to execute her duties as Superintendent of Jefferson County Public Schools in good faith and with good result," the petition reads. "We, the undersigned concerned citizens of Jefferson County, hold that Dr. Donna Hargens is failing our community as the leader of our education system.   We demand that the Jefferson County Board of Education review Dr. Hargens' employment status with regards to the termination of her contract. Immediately."

In a Facebook post, Druck said the "important message here is that the more names are on this petition, the more they have to acknowledge our unity of opinion as a community."

Druck says he is hoping to have 5,000 signatures before Tuesday's school board meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. and is expected to draw a large crowd.

A spokeswoman for JCPS says the district has no comment on the petition.

Brent McKim, the president of the Jefferson County Teachers Association, said while he hasn't read the petition, he is aware that it's circulating.

“I think it’s a sign that the district is on the wrong track with what they’re proposing," McKim said. "I think there are lots of parent and other community members that are expressing their concern that she is leading in the wrong direction, and she needs to listen to the community. Because this a reflection that they’re headed in the wrong way."

McKim said the district's teachers "do not feel supported as they should be."

"They’ve seen their salaries erode by 4 percent since Dr. Hargens arrived," he said. "They feel like the support for them in the classroom has deteriorated, and they’re concerned that we’re not moving in the right direction. And we want things to change and move in a better direction.”

Thousands of parents, teachers, students, community members and other district employees have been participating in walk-ins at more than 140 schools throughput the past week. The rallies started either before the start of the day or after the day is over.

JCPS is expecting a large crowd on Tuesday and will have extra security on hand to make sure things remain orderly. The rallies and protests are expected to begin at 3:30 p.m. and last through 7 p.m., when the school board meeting begins.

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 -- AFSCEM, 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.

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

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