Teachers, students hold walk-in at Crosby Middle to protest JCPS takeover

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A battle is brewing for control over Jefferson County Public Schools, but teachers have a message for leaders trying to take over the district.

The Jefferson County school board would lose its authority and operate as an advisory panel under the recommended state takeover of Jefferson County Public Schools, as laid out by Dr. Wayne Lewis, the state's interim education commissioner, on April 30. 

Teachers like Peggy Helm at Crosby Middle School had strong words for Lewis during Wednesday's demonstration. 

"Please back off! We need to be able to have control over JCPS ourselves," Helm said. 

About two dozen teachers and students took part in the walk-in at Crosby Middle School, carrying signs and showing support for local control of JCPS and the district’s decision to challenge a state takeover.

Members of the JCPS board voted unanimously to appeal the decision Tuesday night, but couldn’t comment further due to the legal process ahead. 

Under a state takeover, superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio would report to the Kentucky Board of Education weekly, and the board would only serve in an advisory role.

Pollio, after a forum on a state takeover of JCPS on May 10, said if the school board voted to appeal Lewis' decision, he would support it.

Helm says JCPS should remain under local control because teachers know what’s best for their students.

“We don’t believe that the state coming in and taking over is the right path for JCPS," Helm said. "The biggest thing is that we need local control, people here know what we need.”

Supporters of a takeover disagree, saying they do not believe JCPS can tackle the long list of issues on its own.

JCPS officials are now waiting to see if the district will be granted a hearing.


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