LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Consultants could be the key to improving Jefferson County Public Schools assignment plan. The school board hired an integration consultant from UCLA to review the plan.
The JCPS school board is moving forward to look at the student assignment plan and transportation issues. It's a plan that could see changes if the Kentucky House votes as the Senate did - in favor of neighborhood schools.
Last week JCPS Board of Education member Carol Ann Haddad went before a Senate committee to explain why she believes the neighborhood schools bill is not what's best for Jefferson County.
"The Republicans in the Senate have been saying we want local control; they don't like Washington telling them, but they sure don't mind telling us, and this is not an issue they need to be dealing with, because they don't have the facts," said Haddad.
Regardless of what is currently going on in Frankfort, the board has hired Dr. Gary Orfield to examine and re-evaluate the student assignment plan.
"He has been in civil rights for years, so I think it would be good to have an outside eye and see what is going on," said Haddad.
Orfield is coming in at the end of January.
"He has done a survey, he will talk to us about that and maybe make some recommendations," said Haddad.
Orfield has been an advisor to the board in years past, on the previous assignment plan. Last year the current plan came under fire after some students didn't make it home for hours.
"Dr. Berman is the one that set this plan in motion, this is his plan, and that's what caused us problems, especially putting kindergartners on the buses, and so we want to look at that for this coming school year," said Haddad.
The board also is planning on bringing in another consultant to take a look at transportation.
"We've had 10 meetings of the planning team since September, we will have a number of alternatives that we will look at and present to the consultant and hopefully we will be able to address some of the community's concerns," said JCPS Superintendent Dr. Sheldon Berman.
Berman says changes are needed and he hopes to see them before his contract expires in June.
"There's work to be done, and I feel it is important to get the work done and leave a positive legacy," said Berman.
Dr. Orfield is volunteering his time as a consultant. He will be reimbursed only for travel costs to Louisville. As for the neighborhood schools bill, the earliest the House could consider it is Feb. 1, and while it has passed the Senate, there's no guarantee it will fare as well in the House.
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