KONZ | Thousands expected to protest, rally at tonight's JCPS board meeting
Thousands of parents, students, community members, teachers and other employees are expected to protest before tonight's Jefferson County Board of Education meeting, according to a permit filed by one of the district's unions.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Thousands of parents, students, community members, teachers and other employees are expected to protest before tonight's Jefferson County Board of Education meeting, according to a permit filed with the city by one of the district's unions.
The protest comes two weeks after the district announced proposed changes to the student code of conduct and to freeze the salaries of those employees who make more than $14 an hour. Both items are not on tonight's agenda, but people will be able to speak about the issues.
According to an event permit filed by the Jefferson County Teachers Association, the protests will begin with retired educators starting at 9 a.m. and continue with thousands of others until 11 p.m. at the Van Hoose Education Center, 3332 Newburg Road. The school board has 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. work sessions and then its regularly scheduled 7 p.m. meeting.
The permit states between 2,000 and 3,000 people are expected and sources tell me that JCPS will tape off the main parking lot around noon, so those hoping to attend will need to plan to find parking elsewhere.
A JCPS spokeswoman says that the district will have extra security on hand to make sure things remain orderly. All of the district's security guards, as well as school resource officers are expected to work, in addition, there will be additional police presence from LMPD.
The district will also 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."
Nearly 140 walk-ins have been 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.
Jennifer Brislin, a district spokeswoman, said Superintendent 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."
Meanwhile, a petition started by a parent to oust Hargens as superintendent less than a week ago had more than 4,000 signatures as of 7 a.m. Tuesday morning.
- Petition to oust JCPS superintendent Hargens reaches thousands of signatures
- JCPS walk-ins continue; district to increase security for Tuesday's school board meeting
- 200 students walk out of PRP High School in support of teachers
- JCPS to cut central office jobs
- Unions unite to battle JCPS recommendations to freeze salaries, loosen code of conduct
Reporter Antoinette Konz covers K-12 education for WDRB News. She can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.
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