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JCPS will appeal state's recommended takeover

JCPS Van Hoose Center (Source: Sara Rivest/WAVE 3 News)
JCPS Van Hoose Center (Source: Sara Rivest/WAVE 3 News)
Published: May. 29, 2018 at 8:00 PM EDT|Updated: May. 29, 2018 at 11:43 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - JCPS announced Tuesday it will challenge the recommendation of a state takeover that first caused an uproar last month.

A specially-called, closed-door meeting began at 4:30 p.m., ahead of the board's normally scheduled meeting. About 35 minutes later, the board publicly took a vote. The decision was unanimous.

State law had given the district 30 days to decide whether to appeal the recommendation that Education Commissioner Dr. Wayne Lewis announced on April 30. The deadline would have been Wednesday.

The state Board of Education will hear the case no fewer than 20 days from now.

In the hearing, Lewis would defend his recommendation to the state board, and JCPS representatives would do the same to justify its opposition, almost like a court hearing.

The process could take a couple days before the KBOE would make a ruling.

"I'm thrilled that the board is going to fight back and I think we will rise up against this move," Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, a Democrat representing District 34, said Tuesday.

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Hundreds of JCPS supporters rallied outside of the VanHoose Education Center after the board voted on the appeal.

Geralyn Merilatt was one of many teachers there who said they're worried state management would negatively impact their students.

"Those people aren't even from Jefferson County," Merilatt said. "How do they know anything about the most precious gems and jewels that we are teaching?"

Gov. Bevin has been an outspoken critic of JCPS, but the decision ultimately lies with the state Board of Education.

"Teachers in JCPS are some of the hardest-working people I know," said former JCPS student Ruth Seim, who took part in the rally. "They stay after school, they came early every morning to see us, they ran clubs for free. They buy supplies for our classroom. What is Bevin doing for our schools?"

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