Mayor, Mayor Elect look to future of JCPS without Dr. Berman

By Matt McCutcheon - e-mail | bio

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - What lies ahead for JCPS is largely unknown now that the board has voted to cut ties with current Superintendent Dr. Sheldon Berman when his contract expires at the end of the school year.  Come June 2011, district leaders hope they'll have a new superintendent in place.

A nationwide search will soon begin for a new Superintendent.  Meanwhile, Louisville's outgoing mayor and mayor elect express optimism for the district's future.

"I was surprised," Mayor Jerry Abramson said when asked about the decision.

Surprised, but not completely thrown off says outgoing Mayor Jerry Abramson.  He says he knew the board had concerns with the district's performance.

"They were concerned about meeting the standards in terms of grades and proficiencies of the students and so I think at this point we support the school board," Mayor Abramson said.

"Dr. Berman has done a lot of good things," Mayor-elect Greg Fischer said.

Mayor-elect Greg Fischer takes his post in about six weeks, which is when the search for Dr. Berman's replacement will begin.

"I'd be interested in somebody that has a strong record of a private-public partnership and a person that knows how to engage the business community and the non-profit community and come into the school system and make sure kids get a great education," the Mayor-elect said.

Although the mayor doesn't have direct input in the school district, it was a campaign issue for Fischer.

"The mayor can be a good partner - a great partner to the school board. I've said all along that the mayor should be the conscience of a world class education," Mayor-elect Fischer said.

The controversial student assignment plan has been a major sticking point, given its challenges both in the courtroom and with Kentucky lawmakers.

"What I've said during the campaign is that it needs to be improved. It needs to be fixed. What's important to me is the outcomes for our kids," Mayor-elect Fischer said.

Dr. Berman said he will serve out the end of his contract, Which expires in late June.  WAVE 3 has learned that under the terms of his contract, he could hypothetically serve out his contract, but not actually be in the office for all of it.

That's because he has the option of cashing out all of his unused vacation days for pay, or he can take them all at once.

Under terms in the contract, he's granted 30 paid vacation days each calendar year, which means he could use them to take him up to his last day.

He's paid a salary of more than $260,000 a year.

The search for his replacement begins immediately after the holidays wrap up in January.

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