Religious coalition wants Heiner to pull JCPS campaign ad

By Jon Chrisos - bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - By now you've probably seen lots of campaign ads from the candidates for Louisville mayor. One ad in particular is getting a lot of attention. Hal Heiner (R) is taking on the JCPS student assignment plan, and a religious coalition doesn't like it.

The religious coalition says it represents more than 100 African American churches when it says it wants Heiner to pull the ad. We talked with Heiner earlier this week when the ad started running, and he says JCPS needs a new plan developed by the community coming together.

On Thursday the Interdenominational Ministerial Coalition talked with reporters outside Central High School. Its president says Heiner's position is shameful and that going back to neighborhood schools will lead to re-segregation.

"He's wanting to do away with the student assignment plan which previously he had supported. It seems as though he's pandering away from that," said Rev. Frank Smith. "We are concerned about this because we recognize Louisville is a predominantly segregated community."

As we previously reported, the mayor does not have control over assigning students to schools. That's a job for the school board and JCPS administrators. We called Heiner's campaign manager, Joe Burgan, for reaction, and he sent the following statement:

"Hal Heiner rejects the idea that we cannot have a discussion on education in this community. This community has gone too long without taking a fresh look at education, and it is time to ask ourselves if this is acceptable. Is it acceptable to have a dropout rate that is double the state average? Is it acceptable to have 6 failing schools and to have our children riding buses for 3 hours a day? Something has to change, and Hal Heiner is unapologetic for standing up for parents and children across this community."

Heiner's opponent, Greg Fischer (D), says improvements do need to be made to the student assignment plan, but he thinks Heiner is using children for political purposes.

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