Reaction pours in after JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens announ - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Reaction pours in after JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens announces resignation

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JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Community members and public officials are sounding off after an announcement Thursday that Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Donna Hargens will resign effective June 1.

David Jones Jr., the former chairman of the Jefferson County Board of Education, who negotiated Hargens' last four-year contract that was approved by the board in 2015, said that "Hargens is an agent of change, and it has been my privilege to work with her in that capacity."

"She has focused relentlessly on changing a system that educates only half of its students well and preserves the status quo for the adults in the system to the detriment of student success," Jones said. "The question for Louisville today is: How on earth can our community get the change we need so that all of our children get a good education if the district runs every change agent out of town? Is now the time for Louisville to call affirmatively for state intervention?”  

Jones had served on the school board since 2012 and was chairman in 2015 and 2016, before losing his seat to Chris Kolb in the general election.

Other community members and public officials are also weighing in on Hargens' resignation:

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer:

"Dr. Hargens has been a great partner and I thank her for her deep commitment to our children, their families and the entire community. She is a classy and intelligent lady, and our community has been lucky to have her. We have strong partnerships with JCPS and we will work to continue those important partnerships to improve our schools for our children."

Kent Oyler, president and CEO of Greater Louisville Inc:

"We thank Dr. Hargens for her service to JCPS and Greater Louisville. She was vital in improving outcomes in the public school system and moving the district forward.  We look forward to continuing to partner with JCPS and closely monitor their progress.  GLI’s goal is to create the best outcomes for all students and thus a strong, talented workforce that can improve our region." 

Ron Richmond, spokesman for the local chapter of AFSCME 962, the largest trade union of public employees in the U.S:

"Donna Hargens announced resignation ushers in an opportunity for positive change in employee relations between AFSCME members and the remaining district leaders. The six years under Hargens were marked by strained relationships and difficult nonproductive negotiations. Her more recent actions were spearheading efforts to delay recognition for Food Nutrition service workers into AFSCME local 4011. As we enter negotiations this summer our hope is that this change in leadership will translate into an attitude of respect and cooperation at the table."

Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt:

"I wish Dr. Hargens well and thank her for her service to Kentucky's public school students."

The Jefferson County Teachers Association (JCTA):

"The Association respects the school board's judgment in reaching this decision. Certainly, based on teachers' responses on recent district surveys, there has been a significant erosion in educators' confidence in the district's leadership."

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