State audit of JCPS revives talk of neighborhood schools in Loui - WDRB 41 Louisville News

State audit of JCPS revives talk of neighborhood schools in Louisville

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The state audit of JCPS revives debate over neighborhood schools. The state audit of JCPS revives debate over neighborhood schools.
The state audit of JCPS revives debate over neighborhood schools. The state audit of JCPS revives debate over neighborhood schools.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The same audit which recommended a state takeover of JCPS could shake up where children go to school and how that is decided. 

The audit released this week by the Kentucky Department of Education says the student assignment plan does not serve all kids. It's listed among auditors' concerns about operational support.

"There's a significant impact on equity where the Student Assignment Plan serves some but not all students," the report said. "The current plan has a distinct negative impact on the most vulnerable population of JCPS students." 

Louisville Attorney Teddy Gordon battled the JCPS student assignment all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. It has been a point of contention in the community since the 1970s when JCPS started busing students away from the schools closest to their homes in order to address segregation concerns and diversity in classrooms. Gordon said he does not think "student assignment" will survive state management.

"What they're trying to do is a basic embryonic beginning of a new school system with all the others and past sins gone." Gordon said.

Poorer black students fill Louisville's failing schools according to JCPS' own data. At some campuses like Byck, Maupin and Wheatley Elementary Schools, minority students make up roughly 90 percent of the student population. And each of these schools have less than 15 percent proficiency with reading and math, according to Kentucky Department of Education records.  

A Republican-led attempt in the 2017 Kentucky legislature to dismantle the student assignment plan failed. Student assignment supporters argued there were not enough school buildings to support the population that has moved to east Louisville, and many schools in west Louisville would be deeply segregated as a result. Minority Whip Kevin Bratcher authored the neighborhood schools bill. Despite the findings in the audit, Bratcher said he's not planning to reintroduce similar legislation.

"I don't support a state takeover of anything.  I'm for local control," Bratcher said. "I like the way Dr. Marty Pollio is looking at the student assignment plan." 

Pollio, the JCPS superintendent, put together a student assignment committee comprised of principals, parents and other stakeholders, including Jacob Elementary Principal Michael Terry.  

"It gives us a chance to look at the things we need to tweak to better enhance our district." Terry said. "We're still dissecting the audit, and it's too early to make those judgments right now.

To find out more about the audit and to read the full report, click here.

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