JCPS Board Member says re-vote to keep superintendent possible - News, Weather & Sports

JCPS Board Member says re-vote to keep superintendent possible

Linda Duncan Linda Duncan
Louisville, KY -

By Elizabeth Donatelli - bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Jefferson County Public Schools might not have to search for a new leader after all. In November, the school board voted not to renew Dr. Sheldon Berman's contract. Now one Board member says she thinks the Board may reconsider keeping him after all. This news comes after the Board elected a new leader who originally voted in favor of keeping Berman.

When it comes to the JCPS superintendent position, "anything's possible," said Linda Duncan, who has been on the Board for four years.

Duncan wouldn't give names, but thinks there are two people who could possibly change their minds and be in favor of keeping him if there is a re-vote.

Just before Thanksgiving the JCPS Board of Education voted 5-to-2 to not renew Berman's contract.

Looking back on that night, Duncan says she was caught off guard.

"I would never have even wanted to vote had I had any inkling that he did not have four votes," said Duncan.

Less than two months later, Duncan says she wants pro-Berman supporters to unite and talk to the Board. She describes supporters as members of the business and African American communities as well as teachers.

The only other Board member who voted in favor of extending Berman's contract, Stephen Imhoff, is now chair.

"Mr. Imhoff was very supportive of Dr. Berman, as was I, and so I think it's a positive note in reconsideration," said Duncan.

So we took the question to Imhoff, and he says it's not his place to lobby other members to reconsider their vote.

"I will not make it an issue," said Imhoff. "If it comes up as an issue, it will only be because two of those five people change their mind."

He says he doesn't know what the chances are that Berman will be retained, but Duncan is a bit more optimistic.

"I think there will be a re-vote," said Duncan. "I think one of us will ask for a re-vote. We probably will ask for it if we're reasonably sure that we've been able to have some more support."

We tried to contact all seven of the school board members. In addition to Duncan and Imhoff, the three women who voted no - Carol Haddad, now vice-chair Diane Porter, and then-chair Debbie Wesslund - say they are firm in their vote and will not change.

Berman responded through a spokesperson in a statement saying that if the board were to offer to extend his contract, he would be willing and interested in considering staying.

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