Opponents of neighborhood schools bill call it 'shortcut to nowh - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Opponents of neighborhood schools bill call it 'shortcut to nowhere'

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Opponents of House Bill 151, including students from Atherton High School, packed a Capitol conference room Monday, led by Democratic State Senator Gerald Neal. Opponents of House Bill 151, including students from Atherton High School, packed a Capitol conference room Monday, led by Democratic State Senator Gerald Neal.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- Opponents of House Bill 151, including students from Atherton High School, packed a Capitol conference room Monday, led by Democratic State Senator Gerald Neal.

"House Bill 151 is a shortcut to nowhere," Neal said.

The bill would permit students to enroll in the school closest to their home. But opponents fear the bill would resegregate JCPS schools that have become more diverse since busing began more than 40 years ago.

"We believe that the bill would have a negative impact on student learning and would actually widen achievement gaps," JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens said.

And opponents say a plan to change the bill, limiting it to only elementary schools students, is not acceptable.

"That's 60 percent of the student body we're talking about -- 66 percent," Neal said.

The bill's sponsor remains unfazed by what appears to be growing opposition, believing most parents still support him. He says he wants the bill to apply to all schools, Kindergarten through 12th grade.

"To take schools away from parents and neighborhoods, it's time to bring the two back together," Rep. Kevin Bratcher said. "And I think that, overwhelmingly, people would like to see that."

Opponents say they'll keep battling, despite the odds of defeating a GOP super-majority in the Senate.

"This about these people in this room," Neal said. "It's about their kids. It's about their families. This is not a game. It's not a game, and it's not owned by a few people."

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Bratcher: Neighborhood schools bill pared down to elementary schools

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