Parents hope new members lead to transparency on school board - News, Weather & Sports

Parents hope new members lead to transparency on school board

Chris Kolb (Source: WAVE 3 News) Chris Kolb (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Benjamin Gies (Source: WAVE 3 News) Benjamin Gies (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Some parents in Jefferson County said their hope is the newly elected Jefferson County School Board of Education members will push toward more accountability and transparency within the school district.

Chris Kolb took the District 2 seat from incumbent David Jones winning 43 percent of the votes. The results were a surprise for some. Jones has been on the board since 2012, spent 2015-2016 as board chair and facilitated board meetings, work sessions, and public comments.

Jones sent a statement conceding and wishing Kolb the best of luck.

"Congratulations to Chris Kolb.  It is an important job and I wish him the best.  As education is my passion, I will continue to work on behalf of JCPS’ improvement through philanthropy and other channels."

Kolb said he plans on turning the board’s focus toward teachers and their needs.

"We have gotten away from realizing teachers and students is the center of our school system, it's what we pay our tax dollars for," Kolb said.

District 4 winner Benjamin Gies is a history teacher in Oldham County. This will be the first time an active teacher is sitting on the JCPS school board.

“I intended to bring my perspective as an educator,” Gies said, “and say this is how these programs and policies are being perceived by those in the trenches.”

Gies is hoping to make a quick change in board process; moving public comments to the beginning of the meeting to allow community members to speak first.

"That's a simple fix," Gies said. "Let's hear from the people first and have the people inform us."

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Members of the group Dear JCPS said they're hoping the fresh faces will allow for more transparency and accountability from the school system’s leader Donna Hargens.

"We don't know what to trust anymore, so having information to make the right decisions," Gaye Adelmann said. "I think this is a great opportunity for our superintendent to be held accountable for decisions that the district is making."

Dr. Hargens sent WAVE 3 the following statement in response to the election results.

"I would like to congratulate board member Chris Brady on his reelection and welcome Chris Kolb and Ben Gies to the Jefferson County Public School (JCPS) district as newly elected members of our Board of Education. 

"I would also like to thank Board Chair David Jones, Jr. and member Chuck Haddaway for their years of service."

The new board members will take their seats on January 1.

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