Middle school student assignment plan may be on hold

By Marisela Burgos - bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Some Jefferson County School Board Members said they were caught by surprise when they received a letter from the consultant they hired to look over the student assignment plan. In the letter, it states the board should delay implementing the student assignment plan for middle school students.

The plan for middle school students is expected to go into effect in the fall, but consultant Dr. Gary Orfield said it shouldn't happen until "an overall plan is in place". In his letter, he suggested rushing changes could lead to more transportation headaches and more complaints from parents.

JCPS Board Chairman, Stephen Imhoff is not too happy with the letter. In January, Orfield told the board their plan needed a tune-up, but Imhoff did not expect the letter he received on Monday where Orfield stated the middle school plan should be delayed.

"I don't think any of us want to change plans every year. That's one of the major things we don't want to do. I don't know we'll end up doing that anyway. Secondly, if we make a change now. We're going to get some parents upset," Imhoff said.

Imhoff said letters have already gone out to hundreds of parents, letting them know where their kids will attend 6th grade in the fall.

"How are we going to send out another letter to those 1,500 parents, {saying} 'oh by the way, we made a mistake. Now, we're going to do something else. Billy or Sally is going to go to another school.' Some of those parents could be very upset," he said.

School Board Member, Linda Duncan agrees. "We've already made budgets. Principals have already made budgets based on their projections next year," Duncan said. "The middle school plan is more of a choice plan and it's not the same. We don't have the same kinds of issues with that particular plan," Duncan said.

On the flip side, School Board Member Carol Haddad said pushing the middle school plan back is a good idea. She said she wants stability for the students.

Superintendent Dr. Sheldon Berman issued a statement, which said: "we are currently studying Gary Orfield's recommendation and looking at its implications".

The board will meet March 14th to review Orfield's letter.

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