School budget proposal faces pushback from parents, principals - News, Weather & Sports

School budget proposal faces pushback from parents, principals

(Source: WAVE 3 News ) (Source: WAVE 3 News )
Parents and principals voiced their concerns at Monday's board meeting. (Source: WAVE 3 News) Parents and principals voiced their concerns at Monday's board meeting. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Parents and principals showed up at Monday's board meeting to express concern for budget allocations that aim to make Jefferson County Public Schools a more equitable school system by shifting funding between schools.

The Vision 20/20 plan focuses on equity, mainly including strategies to provide equitable access to education and eliminating achievement learning gaps. But to do this, the school says JCPS funding allocations and priorities must change.

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Chief Business Officer Tom Hudson presented the budget allocations plan at a work session Monday night at Van Hoose Education Center which includes changes to class sizes, per pupil spending, and teacher allocation within the district.

Per pupil spending from a school's individual flex fund would drop from $140 to $120, class sizes would increase by one (29-1 ratio) and many schools would lose some funding for at least 90 teachers across the district.

Hudson admitted he did a "horrible job of communicating with principals" and due to his "newness, inexperience and arrogance, we've manhandled this a bit."

Hudson explained because of complexities involved with educating students from low-income households and non-English speakers, it's necessary that funds are shifted around to address inequality of education. It costs $6,484 per public at a high-achieving school and $8,864 per pupil at a lower-achieving school.

"All of the complexity in dealing with these kids, costs us" said Hudson.

Dozens of school principals were in the crowd to figure out how the budget allocations would impact their schools.

Budget spreadsheets indicate schools like Ballard High School will lose funding for three teachers. Hudson said there is also talk of removing assistant principals in schools with less than 500 students.

Dozens of parents showed up to speak at the meeting to ask for an alternate solution as opposed to reallocating teacher funding at the higher achieving schools. They suggested visits to both higher achieving and lower performing schools to discover successful practices as opposed to immediately removing resources.

Board member Chuck Haddaway said he's concerned with the plan because it implies the school system does not trust principals to make decisions about the resources they need.

Teacher Susan McClain spoke publicly and explained how class size directly impacts teaching and relationship building and opposed raising the cap to reallocate funds. 

Parent Angela Claiborne said with the proposed plan, the school system is pitting schools against each other by taking resources from one another.

"We shouldn't have to rob Peter to pay Paul," said Claiborne.

The school board didn't directly respond to parent concerns.

The discussion on budget allocation will continue at the next meeting.

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