Some worry new JCPS School Choice plan would resegregate district
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Amandeia Eddings grew up during segregation, and the moment she read about Jefferson County Public School’s new student assignment plan, she worried the district was going back in time.
“I don’t want them to fall back in that trap again,” Eddings said.
However, JCPS said it would do the opposite by giving families a choice to go to school where they live instead of bussing them across town.
“When I look at segregation, I say no family should be forced to go to a school,” Amanda Averette-Bush, JCPS’s Executive Administrator of School Choice said. “What we are looking at is providing options for diversity and integration, and that is through the dual resides choice plan for our choice zone, and also strengthening our magnets within our choice zone.”
For the past 40 years, students living in what is now called the “choice zone,” which is primarily in West Louisville, don’t have the choice of going to class nearby; many are bussed miles away to attend their assigned school.
JCPS’s new, proposed student choice plan would give all students the option of going to school closer to home or farther away, in addition to any magnet school.
While some parents believe the proposed plan is a good start, they said students in West Louisville should be able to choose any school in the area instead of picking from the options the district would provide.
“I would prefer that parents and students have a free choice where they want to go and manage how that goes for themselves versus being stuck in a district or a cluster,” Ruby Johnson, a JCPS parent said.
Former JCPS principal, Michelle Pennix has seen firsthand how the current student assignment plan negatively impacted her students at Mill Creek Leadership Academy on Dixie Highway.
Pennix believes all West Louisville schools should be made into magnets. That way, West Louisville students have more school options and would be guaranteed a good education regardless of their choice.
“I think (the plan is) a great start” Pennix said. “I think we’re excited by the opportunity for kids to stay in their communities and to attend schools, but we’ve got a lot of work to do, because we want it to be a quality choice.”
The district plans to invest $12 million into schools located in the “choice zone” to improve and advance resources for students in West Louisville.
Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio said parents will have time to offer additional feedback on the plan before a final version is presented to the board late May or early June.
To learn more about the school choice plan and take a district survey, click or tap here.
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