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West Louisville parents speak out on future JCPS student assignment

After decades of busing, JCPS will soon roll out a new student assignment plan.
Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 4:40 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - After decades of busing, JCPS will soon roll out a new student assignment plan. West Louisville leaders are now encouraging parents to voice their opinions.

“We have an opportunity to change how the system lands on our shoulders, how the system lands on our backs,” Louisville Urban League President Sadiqa Reynolds said. “This is history in the making. And you can decide to not know and not participate. Or you can show up and listen, learn and offer input. We are desperate for your input because no one in this community loves your children like you do.”

Many view changing the student assignment plan as an opportunity to correct achievement gaps that exist between Black and white students.

“It’s achievement, achievement, achievement,” retired JCPS principal Michelle Pennix said. “Achievement should take precedence over everything else when it comes to the education of all children.”

“Everything that is bad has been exacerbated by these terrible systems so her we have an opportunity to change the system,” Reynolds said. “We have an opportunity to change how the system lands on our shoulders, how the system lands on our backs. We have got to show up and offer input for that.”

During the public forum at the Norton Healthcare Sports and Learning Center on Tuesday night, some parents said they were concerned the new student assignment plan will segregate JCPS.

JCPS superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio said with equitable resources, including spending millions of additional dollars on West End schools, will draw families from both ends of Louisville to those schools.

The school board passed spending last year as a part of the district’s racial equity plan.

“The paradigm of what was happening in 1976 is not happening now and we have to understand that,” Pollio said. “I’ve heard the stories, I’ve read the stories about separate but supposedly equal that wasn’t equal. We cannot go back to that without a doubt. What we have to do is equitability resource.”

Andrea Tucker, a JCPS parent, told WAVE News she lives downtown, but her son is bussed 20 minutes away across the city to Zachary Taylor Elementary.

“Even if he did after school programs, how am I going to take the time after work to make sure I can get there on time at a timely manner,” Tucker said. “At the same time, Brown is right there down the street (next to my house.)”

Tucker said the plan sounds promising, but it should have come much sooner.

“I think it’s taken them a really long time to realize and recognize, ‘Hey, this is screaming racial injustice,’” Tucker said. “I’m happy that they decided to start changing things, but at the same time I wish they had done it sooner.”

JCPS will provide another community information session about the student assignment plan on March 29 at 6 p.m. at the Academy @ Shawnee, in addition to a virtual forum which will be set at a later date.

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