Craig, Shull cruise to wins in JCPS school board races

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – James Craig and Corrie Shull will join the Jefferson County Board of Education after substantial wins in Tuesday’s school board races.

Craig, an attorney, and Shull, pastor of Burnett Avenue Baptist Church, are leading their races by 26.2 and 29.2 percentage points, respectively.

Craig, who replaces Steph Horne in District 3, bested two others and carried the race with 49 percent of the vote. Shull, who assumes the District 6 seat vacated by Lisa Willner, won 53.7 percent of the vote in his four-way contest.

Both earned a significant boost from the Jefferson County Teachers Association and its super PAC, Better Schools Kentucky. The teachers union’s PAC endorsed both candidates and spent more than $100,000 supporting their candidacies, according to records filed with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.

Incumbents Diane Porter, who chairs the board and represents District 1, and Linda Duncan, who represents District 5, ran unopposed.

Craig and Shull join a board and a school district that have been under intense scrutiny by the state.

The Kentucky Department of Education launched a management audit of Jefferson County Public Schools in February 2017, and newly appointed Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis, then the interim commissioner, recommended that Kentucky’s largest school district be placed under state management in April.

The school board appealed, but the two sides hammered out a settlement before a hearing occurred that avoided a takeover of JCPS.

The settlement and corrective action plan give KDE final say in policies that affect five areas, including early childhood education and special education, the district two years to work out issues identified in the audit before a follow-up review by KDE in October 2020.

While the Kentucky Board of Education unanimously voted in late August to cancel the scheduled hearing in light of the agreement, the local school board was split on the decision and voted 4-3 to accept the state's proposed settlement days before.

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