More details emerge in JCPS Student Assignment Plan - WDRB 41 Louisville News

More details emerge in JCPS Student Assignment Plan

The supreme court decision on Jefferson County schools should also bring new "magnet" programs to elementary schools.  Those will help attract students to schools in neighborhoods with high numbers of minorities or low-income families.

The district already plans to assign those students by race, address and income.  It's another way to promote diversity.

Students at Lincoln Elementary School downtown will learn performing arts starting in the fall. Ann Elmore, board member says, "There's one school the former superintendent was going to close. That's going to be a magnet now. I'm so excited."

Lincoln will be a preview of what Jefferson County wants to bring to 22 more of its elementary schools special "magnets" in the arts, technology, leadership, foreign languages or specialization in smaller class sizes. They would be open to all students, countywide.

Elmore says, "I think it's something for everybody that's going to be handled in a very fair way.  And people who may not be as empowered as others have a chance."

Long-time board member Elmore says it's the first student assignment plan she'll vote for.  She believes others were discriminatory.  The magnet plan would take effect for the 2009-2010 school year. The school board has to decide on it next month.

The school district wants to have many of the specifics ready, in print, for parents in time for the Showcase of Schools in October.  That's when many parents study schools at what resembles a trade show at the convention center.  Their decisions on the following school year often stem from the Showcase.

But many questions still will need to be answered this summer and throughout the coming year.  Superintendent Berman expects both school money and private donors to pay for the magnet programs.

Some board members wonder about staffing and making sure the elementary students can continue their magnet training beyond fifth grade.

Linda Duncan, school board member says, "Parents are looking at schools and seeing scores. They say the same people are going to be there, how is this going to help my child?"

Carol Ann Haddad, school board member says, "It's not going to do any good to have all these wonderful magnet schools if we don't have follow up if they don't have a place to go when they leave there."

The district already has eight magnet schools out of its 90 elementary schools. The school board is scheduled to vote on the plan next month.

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