Proposed bill would split JCPS into multiple school districts
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) - Senate Bill 156 passed unanimously through the Kentucky House Education Committee Monday.
It would create a statewide reading research center to improve the reading levels of Kentucky Students. However, it was back in front of lawmakers Tuesday, with a twist.
A proposed amendment late during session Monday added an audit of Jefferson County Public Schools, the largest district in the state.
The audit would look for areas of weakness and areas of improvement. Also, the new amendment would suggest looking into splitting JCPS into smaller districts.
JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio pleaded with lawmakers Tuesday morning.
”What will happen is [an] extreme poverty district any way you slice it,” Pollio said of the potential split. “And that is a major problem. Give us the chance to execute our plan. We have a plan, we’re implementing it. We’re executing it.”
Pollio said the district has been audited several times in recent years. A new audit wouldn’t find anything new. The only difference would be, this time, the district would have to pay for it.
Proponents of the newly adapted bill said they want a clear view of the district most responsible for the state’s budget.
”A key component of that for the state is JCPS,” Sen. Stephen West, representing the group of lawmakers behind the change, said. “That’s a large portion of our [test] scores, and we have a responsibility to make sure every child in JCPS is getting a high-quality education.”
The bill didn’t pass, as amended, through the committee Tuesday. The largely partisan vote resulted in yes votes only from Republican candidates outside of Louisville. Though, it wasn’t totally partisan.
”To me, it’s a waste of money a waste of time,” Republican Representative Scott Lewis said, “And here we are, last hour, and we get something like this attached to a really good bill... That’s how things operate here, but it’s not right.”
The entity responsible for the called-upon audit would be the State Auditor’s office.
Kentucky State Auditor Mike Harmon is currently a republican candidate for governor.
Copyright 2023 WAVE. All rights reserved.