Interim Ky. education commissioner visiting JCPS before making a - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Interim Ky. education commissioner visiting JCPS before making audit recommendation

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Interim Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis will visit Jefferson County Public Schools next week before making his recommendation on the long-awaited audit of Kentucky's largest school district.

The Kentucky Department of Education announced Friday that Lewis will meet with key JCPS staff and members of the Jefferson County Board of Education as part of his Wednesday and Thursday visits, which will include on-site stops at schools in the district. The department also said he plans to make his recommendation on the audit, which began Feb. 14, 2017, by the end of the month.

Former Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt, who resigned Tuesday after the Kentucky Board of Education met behind closed doors for more than four hours, had said he wanted a legal analysis of the district's collective bargaining agreements, but KDE said in a news release that that information would not be a factor in Lewis' decision.

"Whatever decision I make will be based on the facts and what is in the best interest of the children attending school in Jefferson County," Lewis said in a statement. "The students' well-being and opportunity to be successful will be the driving force behind how we move forward."

Jefferson County school board members said that Pruitt had intended to recommend state assistance for JCPS. That would have meant hands-on monitoring by KDE as the district developed and implemented corrective actions based on the audit's findings.

That option is a step below state management, which would give KDE direct control of the district's operations. Some board members have expressed their concerns of a possible state takeover at JCPS.

Reach reporter Kevin Wheatley at 502-585-0838 and kwheatley@wdrb.com. Follow him on Twitter @KevinWheatleyKY.

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