LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The student assignment plan for Jefferson County Public Schools has been controversial for years. Many critics say the process, last updated in 2014, disproportionately affects Black students in west Louisville. After a three-year committee review, a number of changes to the current plan have been released.
In a meeting Wednesday, Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio and members of the task force in charge of reviewing the district’s student assignment plan introduced their proposed changes to it.
Among the recommendations, a “dual resides” option would give middle and high school students in west Louisville a choice between a school closer to home or one farther away. A new middle school and new music magnet elementary school were also recommended.
Angela Bowens is a parent representative on the task force for JCBE District 1, which includes west Louisville. She said tells WAVE 3 the “dual resides” option has both a good and bad side.
“The good side is that it allows them [students] to be closer to home in their communities; the bad side is that we are having issues within the community and I’m afraid those issues will end up in the schools,” she said.
Bowens fears that students from west Louisville could become increasingly segregated from other students if they are funneled into neighborhood schools. While her son currently takes a 20-minute bus ride to Louisville Male High School everyday day, Bowens said it’s worth it.
Louisville Urban League president Sadiqa Reynolds said she doesn’t support the recommendations just yet.
“I have serious concerns that if students in west Louisville are routed into neighborhood schools the money will not follow the need,” she said.
Reynolds explained that she wants to see more resources built into the student assignment plan for some of the city’s poorest students in west Louisville.
“What you want to make sure of is those neighborhood schools are equipped,” she said.
To curtail issues with the “dual resides” option, JCPS has introduced a west Louisville school support plan. The following proposals would be implemented for the Academy @ Shawnee and the new west Louisville middle school:
• Small class sizes (24 students to 1 teacher)
• One to one technology (personal student iPads)
• Additional counselors and mental health practitioners
• Expanded career exploration pathways
• Increased dual credit opportunities
JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio said Wednesday he would not bring the student assignment plan recommendations to the Board of Education until they had community support.
The student assignment review committee will meet again on Oct. 21 to further discuss any racial equity issues with their recommendations.
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