JCPS holding series of public meetings over code of conduct, sal - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS holding series of public meetings over code of conduct, salary study

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Student behavior and a recent salary study in Jefferson County Public Schools are the two topics that will be discussed at a series of public meetings held by district officials on Monday.

Superintendent Donna Hargens is hosting a summit regarding the development of a behavior management system for JCPS from 8-11 a.m. at the Gheens Academy, 4425 Preston Highway. A second summit on the same topic will be held Wednesday from 5-8 p.m. at the Van Hoose Education Center.

In addition, the district will hold two briefings from the Management Advisory Group (MAG), the independent consultant that conducted the salary study regarding the district’s compensation and pay structure on Monday. The first meeting is from 3-5:30 p.m., the second meeting is from 6-7:30 p.m.; both will be held at the Van Hoose Education Center, 3332 Newburg Road.

The summits and briefings by the salary study consultant are a result of public outcry and a series of protests in recent weeks over proposed changes to the district's code of conduct and freezing salaries for most employees, including teachers, for the upcoming school year.

Approximately 125 people received an invitation by Hargens to participate in the Superintendent'S Summit, but the meetings are open to the public.

Those invited include all members of Hargens' cabinet -- including chief business officer Tom Hudson, chief financial officer Cordelia Hardin, chief operations officer Mike Raisor, chief communications officer Allison Martin, chief equity officer John Marshall and chief data officer Dena Dossett, as well as all five of the district's area academic assistant superintendents and the district's priority schools manager and director of security and investigations.

Other invitees include six principals, teachers, staff members and representatives from the district's five unions and various community members. (Note: You can see a full list of those invited to participate at the end of this story).

The code of conduct recommendations, introduced to members of the Jefferson County Board of Education during a work session on April 26, included changes that would reduce punishments for some offenses for which thousands of students are typically removed from class each year.

Student behavior and discipline has been a hot topic this year, with dozens of teachers, bus drivers and other staff members quitting mid-year due to behavioral problems and what they say is a lack of support from district officials.

Hargens also reconvened the code of conduct committee last week to "revisit and recap" its recommendations.

But at the Friday meeting, district officials acknowledged that there may not be enough time to implement any changes for the 2016-17 year, which begins Aug. 10.

The district's long awaited comprehensive salary review was also released at a separate school board work session on April 26.

The study found that JCPS pays premium salaries to its teachers, which provides a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining quality instructors, but that more than 7,353 positions in JCPS pay at or above the maximum of the market pay range.

Hudson, the district's chief business officer, told the board as part of the district’s “next steps,” officials would bring two recommendations to the school board on May 10.

Those recommendations, which Hudson and Hargens both said came from a “Community Advisory Team” comprised of school administrators and community members, included no “step” or cost of living increases in 2016-17 for all employees earning more than $14 an hour. 

Hudson was also planning on asking the school board for permission to negotiate a percentage increase in 2016-17 for only those employees earning less than $14 an hour.

However, the district never brought the salary study recommendations to the school board for approval on May 10, saying the recommendations are first subject to negotiations with the district's unions.

But according to the tentative 2015-16 budget which will be up for school board approval on Tuesday, it appears the district is not including the step increases or the cost of living raises as part of it's general fund budget. 

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Reporter Antoinette Konz can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.

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