JCPS board to take time on decision about Frost Middle closure - News, Weather & Sports

JCPS board to take time on decision about Frost Middle closure

Donna Quiggins Donna Quiggins
Dalton Holt Dalton Holt
Frost Middle School Frost Middle School

By Marisela Burgos - bio | email   
Posted by Charles Gazaway - email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - During a special meeting on May 6, the Jefferson County School Board met to discuss results of a state audit released by the Kentucky Department of Education. The audits indicate the school system needs to make a few changes at six of its schools to comply with state and federal guidelines.

Dr. Sheldon Berman, JCPS superintendent, said the KDE gave the school board four options to choose from, two of which he picked to present to the board. 

"{We} would have chosen other methods, but these are the methods dictated to us by law," Berman told the school board.

The first recommendation includes re-staffing certified employees at Western Middle, Academy at Shawnee, Fern Creek, Valley and Western High Schools. The state requires the school system to transfer 50% of the staff to other schools, including the principals. Berman said to the school board members if the option is chosen, it would mean transferring less than 50%. According to Berman, that is a result of the schools having new staff members.

The second recommendation includes appealing the relocation of the principals at Fern Creek and Valley High Schools.

Berman said the third recommendation would be to close Frost Middle School. If it is approved by the school board, it would recommend relocating Phoenix School of Discovery to Frost.

"We don't feel like we have any persistently low performing schools in this district," said Joseph Burks, JCPS Assistant Superintendent for district-wide high school instructional services.

Board member Carol Ann Haddad disagreed. She met with auditors and she believes changes must be made. 

"I hope that you look through this," Haddad said to the board. "Consider some of these things the state has recommended because they're going to come back and look at you again."

Board member Larry Hujo said he hopes the board takes its time to make a decision. 

"We've got challenges, but I don't want people to get excited and let their emotions run this," said Hujo.

Parents and teachers of Frost Middle School learned about the possibility the school was closing, immediately after the board's special meeting. 

"It's not fair to the kids. It's like the kids are being punished," said Donna Quiggins whose granddaughter is a 7th grader at Frost Middle.

Quiggins said her granddaughter is following in the footsteps of her mother and uncle's.

"I was hoping that she would be the second generation to graduate here, but it's not fair," she said.

"Whatever the kids need, we got to provide it," said Dalton Holt, a Frost Middle 6th and 7th grade Language Arts teacher. "As a teacher that's what I took the oath to be in educating our kids. What building it's in, it doesn't really matter."

Despite the restructuring, Holt said he will continue doing his job. 

"I personally wake up every day teach the kids and make sure they know how to read and write and progress to the next level," said Holt.

State auditors feel differently. The KDE's Leadership Assessment said students at the identified six schools are not meeting state achievement goals.

As far as closing Frost, Quiggins is counting on the school board to make the right decision. 

"I hope they'll make the right decision and keep this school open," said Quiggins.

The school board will meet on May 10 to discuss the matter further.  The board plans to invite the state auditors to the meeting.

The JCPS board has less than 30 days to respond to the KDE. The KDE then has 30 days to respond to the school board.

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