JCPS School Choice assignment proposal passes Board with unanimous vote
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Jefferson County Board of Education has voted to implement its new School Choice Proposal.
The motion passed in a unanimous vote during a special meeting at the JCPS Van Hoose Center on Wednesday evening.
The proposal was the district’s first review of school assignments in 40 years, and creates an opportunity for better schools closer to home and better access to magnet schools, according to JCPS.
The proposal was created in an attempt to make JCPS’ student assignment plan more equitable by giving students a choice on where to go to school.
“Students won tonight,” JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio said. “For the first time, these students will have a choice.”
Pollio previously said the proposal would make it easier for families to find a school and to ensure that magnet schools and programs represent JCPS’ diversity.
COMPLETE COVERAGE: JCPS School Choice Plan
Students who live within the “Choice Zone,” largely in West Louisville, would be able to choose whether they attend a school that is closer to home to avoid long, cumbersome bus trips, or one that is further away and more aligns with their goals.
Pollio said equitable resources would be used to spend millions of dollars on West End schools in hope of drawing families from both ends of Louisville, although some parents shared concerns the new assignment plan would segregate the district.
Milton Seymore of the Justice Resource Center was one of many stakeholders who spoke at the meeting before the vote. He said he was “a little skeptical” right now, wanting to see the plan in action, but overall thinks it’s a great idea.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” Seymore said.
The Louisville chapter of the NAACP and the Coalition of Retired Black Principals and Administrators gave their “conditional support” to the plan a few hours before the vote. Members had been concerned that this plan would further segregate JCPS schools.
“It was a dilemma,” Raoul Cunningham of the NAACP said. “We’ve all been working for an integrated system... but when we realized this plan was going to pass, we felt like we had to support for the benefit of Black children.”
Overall, Cunningham said they support the plan because of the potential to increase student achievement and lessen the gap between Black and white students.
However, Cunningham and his colleagues would not support the plan without Pollio’s commitment to several “non-negotiables.” Pollio said he did commit to the stipulations, which include the following:
- The next magnet schools must be in West Louisville.
- Choice zone teachers and administrators must be compensated $8,000-14,000 more per year.
- A commission must be formed to monitor the plan’s implementation.
- Class sizes must be capped at 20 per instructor.
Pollio said he understands that accountability is what comes next, and he believes in this plan’s sustainability.
“To ensure that the trust is there,” Pollio said. “To say, we’re not doing this for just one year. I think that was the fear, rightfully so. So, we’re doing everything we can to make sure we codify these things into policy and the plan, so the community sees it for years to come.”
Families can use the JCPS My School Location website to find the proposed school assignments for their address.
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