Bratcher: Neighborhood schools bill pared down to elementary sch - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Bratcher: Neighborhood schools bill pared down to elementary schools

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Rep. Kevin Bratcher, center, is the sponsor of the neighborhood schools bill. Rep. Kevin Bratcher, center, is the sponsor of the neighborhood schools bill.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The controversial neighborhood schools bill has been revised to affect only elementary schools, according to its primary sponsor, Rep. Kevin Bratcher of Fern Creek.

Bratcher confirmed the change in a brief phone call Monday. He said there are also changes related to "attendance zones," but he did not elaborate.

He added that he wants the bill to apply to all schools, Kindergarten through 12th grade.

A copy of the revised version of the legislation, House Bill 151, was not immediately available.  

The bill passed the state House on Feb. 23 but has a ways to go in the Senate during the waning days of the 2017 legislative session. On several occasions over the last week-and-a-half, Bratcher has said the bill would be tweaked in the Senate.

A revised version of the bill could be introduced in the Senate Education Committee, which has not yet scheduled a hearing on the legislation.

With some exceptions, HB 151 would give students the right to attend the public school nearest their homes, or the next closest school in case of capacity issues. 

While it applies statewide, the bill would primarily affect Jefferson County Public Schools, where students are assigned using a complex formula designed to keep schools in racial and economic balance while accommodating parental choices.

Critics say the bill would lead to renewed racial segregation in Louisville's school system, which was integrated under a 1975 court order. The legislation has drawn national attention.

Supporters say it's baffling that under JCPS' rules, parents cannot be assured they'll get their children into a school that is just down the street from their home.

The JCPS board opposes the legislation, as does the Kentucky Schools Boards Association, which represents all 173 districts in the state.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said the bill is moving too fast through the legislature, and Greater Louisville Inc. -- the metro chamber of commerce -- has also come out against it.

RELATED:

SUNDAY EDITION | For JCPS, 'neighborhood schools' bill would force big changes, unforeseen consequences

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