JCPS parents say it's time for the litigation to end - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

JCPS parents say it's time for the litigation to end

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Ted Gordon Ted Gordon
Chris Fell Chris Fell
Terilynn Ralston Terilynn Ralston
Arne Duncan Arne Duncan

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It's a win for some local parents, but the gloves aren't off just yet in the battle over the Jefferson County Public Schools student assignment plan. A move by the Kentucky Court of Appeals Friday that said students can go to the schools closest to their home has parents and those in the education field speaking out.

"The appellate opinion lays out and reconfirms everything the parents had been arguing about," said attorney Teddy Gordon.

The argument over the past 13 years said Gordon is that the JCPS student assignment plan doesn't work, doesn't improve educational outcome and it's time for neighborhood schools.

On Sept. 30, the Kentucky Court of Appeals decided that students can attend the schools closest to their home. Many parents, like Chris Fell and Terilynn Ralston, were upset their kids would have to be on buses for hours to and from school as JCPS tries to diversify their classroom. They filed suit against JCPS.

"It was everything could do just for her to get the energy to eat and do her homework take a bath," said Fell. "She had no social life whatsoever."

"My son would have been assigned to a school essentially 15 or 16 miles away from what would have been our new residence," Ralston said. "We were not pleased with that."

The court gave JCPS time to appeal the decision to the Kentucky Supreme Court, something JCPS Superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens said on Friday the school system will do.

The issue even has President Obama's Education Secretary Arne Duncan voicing his opinion asking parents to look at a bigger picture.

"It can be complicated and difficult, but I would just encourage Louisville and other cities round the country to be very thoughtful and not walk away from opportunities for students to go to school in a diverse environment," said Duncan.

While this roller coaster ride isn't over just yet, it's a victory for many parents.

"I'm personally thrilled with the Court of Appeals ruling and I would hope JCPS would recognize this and maybe even seek to put an end to this litigation," said Ralston.

By phone, WAVE 3 spoke with JCPS board member Linda Duncan who said the school system has to have an assignment plan because she said going back to neighborhood schools goes back to segregated schools.

JCPS spokesperson Lauren Roberts said because the case is being appealed to the state supreme court, any changes would be pending that outcome. According to Roberts, it is estimated that will take at least a year to get through the state supreme court.

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