JCPS: Additional mental health support is a go, Gilmore Lane parents still fight, and more

JCPS board meeting recap: Feb. 12, 2019

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Did you miss Tuesday’s board meeting for Jefferson County Public Schools? Here’s your recap.

Mental health practitioners

Board members unanimously passed a $3 million plan to hire more mental health counselors.

“We know that we’ve got to increase our supports for students,” Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio said. “We have students who have needs and we want to meet those needs, so we are making a commitment to do that.”

Of the district’s 150 schools, 49 currently have mental health counselors. Around 60 more mental health professionals will be hired.

One counselor would be designated to each middle and high school, and the elementary schools will share counselors. The new hires will begin their work in the Fall 2020 school year.

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Building facilities plan

A large showing of parents to students at Gilmore Lane Elementary showed up at the meeting to speak out against the district’s proposed facilities plan.

With several schools in need of major, costly renovations, the district thinks building new schools will be much more efficient and cost effective. The plan would affect 11 schools total.

Mostly, feedback from parents has been positive. Gilmore Lane Elementary is the main exception.

That’s because students there would need to move to nearby schools temporarily until their new building is ready in 2021.

“You’re asking the students to leave their friends, their classmates, their teachers, the community of Lynnview," Erin Zimmerman, Gilmore Lane PTA president, said. “We just don’t think that anything about that is right.”

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District police force

The school board is considering a new security proposal that would remove officers from their schools who work for local agencies. In their place, the district would hire trained officers who would work only for the school system.

A group showed up ahead of the meeting to rally against officers in schools.

“Say no to SROs, say yes to restorative justice practices, say yes to mental support services, say yes and invest in young people,” Manual High graduate Quintez Brown said.

The board will discuss this at their next work session in two weeks. They are scheduled to vote on it at the March 12 board meeting.

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Dr. Marty Pollio’s one-year anniversary as superintendent

With so much going on within the district, Pollio told WAVE 3 News he didn’t even realize he reached his on year mark as superintendent on Monday.

“I think we’ve made a lot of progress, but we’ve got a long way to go,” Pollio said. “We are in the middle of trying to address many issues and make a lot of changes and its tough, difficult work. So, I haven’t even really had the time to think about it being one year. In a way it seems like seven years and in a way, it seems like just yesterday. But you know, I’m happy with the progress but we’ve got a long way to go.”

Pollio was serving as acting superintendent for eight months before he was officially appointed to the position.

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