Jefferson County teachers union questions job losses - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Jefferson County teachers union questions job losses

Jefferson County's teachers union wants an independent review of why some teachers didn't have their contracts renewed this spring. The school district says it's because of poor performance. But the union wonders if it's partly because of the color of their skin.

Both sides differ greatly on sheer numbers and whether teachers were told properly they wouldn't have jobs in the fall.

The director of Jefferson County's teachers union wonders if non-renewal of some teachers' contracts constitutes racial discrimination.

He's sent letters to the superintendent and the school board asking for an independent investigation.

"We don't know what criteria were applied to make this decision," said Steve Neal, Jefferson County Teachers Association Executive Director.

The union says 36, non-tenured teachers were not renewed and that half of them are African-American or otherwise of color. That raises the question of discrimination.

 And, that's different from school district numbers that show 21 teachers were not renewed and five of them are African-American.

It's also a change for the union, whose statements last month talked of 20 teachers affected. Neither side can explain the descrepancies, other than to say each is confident in its numbers.

"The attempt to move it off of performance and onto race is shocking," said Superintendent Sheldon Berman.

Superintendent Sheldon Berman says he did not renew those contracts based on the teachers' performance on the job. He also says the teachers received proper notice of what they had done wrong.

The teachers say most did not get performance reviews nor were offered a chance to improve on the job. A group of them now is suing to get their jobs back.

As for an independent review, Berman says it's not necessary.

A court hearing's scheduled next week.

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