JCPS superintendent says district is committed to diversity

Dr. Donna Hargens
Dr. Donna Hargens
Sen. David Williams
Sen. David Williams
Gov. Steve Beshear
Gov. Steve Beshear

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Leaders of the Jefferson County Public Schools say they are committed to diversity, despite criticisms from an appeals court judge about their busing plan. There was an intense round of questions Wednesday from judges on how to interpret state law regarding where your child can go to school.

Judge Kelly Thompson grilled the attorney for JCPS during oral arguments calling the busing plan a "social experiment." When we caught up with Superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens we asked her if she thinks the student assignment plan is.

"We're waiting," Hargens said. "It's about an interpretation of a part of a statuette and we are waiting for the decision about that interpretation."

The question is over how to interpret Kentucky law that says students may "enroll" in their closest school, but does that mean they "attend?"

"I always felt like the language was clear," said Kentucky Senate President David Williams, the Republican candidate for governor. "It says that parents have the right to enroll their children in the school nearest to them in their attendance area."

Williams is making it an issue in the governor's race. He wants to end busing in Jefferson County.

"I'm hoping that this panel will give a really good opinion, and I believe that that opinion should be so strong that the Jefferson County School Board should make the decision that they should stop wasting the precious resources of the taxpayers and spend that money on education," said Williams.

His opponent, Gov. Steve Beshear, the Democratic incumbent, instead stepped out of the way of the issue.

"I think those decisions are local decisions that are made by school boards on the local level," said Beshear. "We directly elect those folks."

If the court doesn't rule in favor of JCPS, WAVE 3 asked Hargens what that could mean for the busing plan.

"It's probably always a good strategy to again wait for a decision to be made," said Hargens.

A consultant will be in Louisville on September 12 to address the Board of Education on the student assignment plan.

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