Neighborhood school bill stirs debate - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Neighborhood school bill stirs debate

Sen. David Williams Sen. David Williams
Sen. Dan Seum Sen. Dan Seum
Gov. Steve Beshear Gov. Steve Beshear
Louisville, KY -

By Jon Chrisos - bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The debate centered on a bill that would allow Kentucky students to attend neighborhood schools is heating up.

In his pocket, Senate President David Williams (R-District 16/Burkesville) carries a copy of "The Neighborhood School Act." Williams says he is proud of the bill he's sponsoring with Senator Dan Seum (R-District 38/Fairdale) that would allow parents to put their kids back in neighborhood schools, the school closest to their home.

"All the hours that are spent on buses are not conducive to learning, and they are also not conducive to parental involvement," Williams said.

This summer, 13 parents lost a suit they filed against the Jefferson County Public Schools over the student assignment plan, saying their kids shouldn't have to be bussed hours and dozens of miles away from home. A Jefferson Circuit Court judge wrote that while state law says parents can "enroll" their children in the school nearest to their home, that doesn't mean that the school district must allow them to "attend."

"We didn't feel like that was the intent of the legislature; we felt those particular words had been removed because they were redundant," Williams explained.

Opponents say it would take the community back in time and re-segregate schools. Even Gov. Steve Beshear weighed in on the debate.

"Most folks know as I do, neighborhood schools are the best for folks because they don't have to send their kids across town, and they get to be more of a community," Beshear said.

But Beshear adds school leaders and boards know best, and he favors local control.

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