Survey: Less than half of JCPS teachers, principals have faith i - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Survey: Less than half of JCPS teachers, principals have faith in current district leadership

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- For the second straight year, fewer Jefferson County Public Schools employees reported they were less confident in the leadership of Superintendent Donna Hargens and in the district’s ability to manage money efficiently, according to results from an annual survey.

The 2016-17 Comprehensive Survey -- administered from Feb. 1 through March 24 -- show that only 44 percent of "certified employees” such as teachers and principals said Hargens and her central-office staff “provide effective leadership for schools."

That's down from 51 percent last year, 75 percent in 2015 and from more than 80 percent from 2012-2014. 

In addition, only 38 percent of teachers and principals said the district “manages funding in an efficient and responsible manner” – down from 40 percent last year, 58 percent from 2015 and 65 percent during the previous three years.

Results of the annual survey will be shared with the Jefferson County Board of Education on Tuesday, which will be Hargens' last meeting as superintendent. She announced her resignation from the district on April 13. Her last day with the district is July 1.

Individual survey results were not available on Thursday, although WDRB News was able to obtain the results independently after the district refused to release them.

Jennifer Brislin, a spokeswoman for the district, said the data "will be available prior to the start of the meeting."

She added that the purpose of Tuesday's presentation is to give board members a report on five-year trend data and go over the new items that relate to the district's strategic plan.

Marty Pollio, who had been the principal of Doss High School, will take over as interim JCPS superintendent on July 2

In an interview with WDRB shortly after his appointment as interim, Pollio said the “most important thing” at JCPS is improving the culture of the entire organization.

“A very important part of ensuring that student achievement occurs is the culture within a school,” he said. “Without great culture and climate in our schools, achievement will not follow so we can't separate the two.”

According to a PowerPoint presentation that will be shared with the board, this year's results do show a slight increase in overall employee satisfaction with JCPS.

In all, 71 percent of teachers and certified staff said they were “very satisfied” with the district, compared with 70 percent last year. However, that number is drastically down from 82 percent in 2015 and 86 percent from 2012-2014.

When parents were asked the same question, 82 percent of those who responded indicated they were “very satisfied” with JCPS, down from 83 percent last year and 86 percent in 2015.

Student satisfaction is also down about one percent from the past two years.

"Overall trend data shows employee satisfaction decline over five years, while parent and students remained relatively stable," according to a report that will be shared with the school board. "Area(s) of improvement include site safety, administration and governance and overall satisfaction."

According to a pilot area of the survey, parents were asked about their understanding and access of the district. 89 percent of parents who took the survey responded said they know how to get school information when they need it, but only 81 percent indicated that communication to and from the school system is open, clear and timely.

The comprehensive survey has been used by JCPS as a way to gauge input from students, staff and parents since 1996.

According to the district's website, it provides "feedback to the school board, central administration and schools so that we can continuously improve our educational services in important areas associated with school climate."

JCPS adds that it is a “critical tool for informed discussions, planning and progress monitoring of JCPS as a school system."

In the PowerPoint presentation, district officials say once they share the data with the school board and it becomes public, they will offer support to schools and district departments, as well as "recognize schools with high response rates and positive school climate and culture" and "offer sessions for schools to examine and reflect on school climate and culture data more in-depth."

To see JCPS Comprehensive Survey Results from 2010-2016, click here.

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

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