Details released in JCPS, KDE settlement agreement to avoid state takeover

JCPS board approves state settlement; details released
Published: Aug. 27, 2018 at 11:59 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 28, 2018 at 12:00 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The school board for Jefferson County Public Schools has accepted a settlement offer from the Kentucky Department of Education, avoiding a legal battle over a state takeover of the district.

The vote was divided, however, and it barely passed with a vote of 4 to 3.

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The settlement states over the next 15 days, JCPS and the state must come up with a "Corrective Action Plan." That plan will be designed to fix the shortcomings in the audit of the district the state released in April.

JCPS is also required to hire an "internal auditor," whose sole job will be to investigate complaints laid out against the district.

A cabinet level position responsible for managing Exceptional Child Education Services will also be created.

The state will audit the district again in 2020. If the goals in that action plan are not met, then the state can fully take over the district. The district did not give up their right to appeal the findings of that audit with this agreement.

With the settlement, the district also agrees to work on revisions to student assignment plans. There was no mention of charter or neighborhood schools in the agreement.

Monday evening, as the board came out of a private executive session, the school board's chairwoman, Diane Porter, made a motion to accept the settlement, which was seconded by another board member, Ben Gies.

During discussion which was open to the public, three board members made it clear they did not support the settlement, and did not think it was the best deal available to the district.

Those who expressed support of the settlement said Superintendent Marty Pollio agreed with it, and they stood behind him.

At the end of Monday night's meeting, Pollio thanked the school board for their support and effort.

The settlement avoids a legal battle over a state takeover of JCPS. Hearings were scheduled to begin on Sept. 10.

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Since a settlement was offered in July, the school board has met in numerous private executive sessions to discuss it. Negotiation has gone back and forth between JCPS and KDE in the meantime.

Dr. Wayne Lewis Interim Kentucky Education Commissioner provided the following statement:

"Four members of the Jefferson County Board of Education took a courageous step this evening, making a decision that puts the children and families of Jefferson County first. We are working to convene a special meeting of the Kentucky Board of Education this week, where I will make a recommendation to the board to issue a final order dismissing the case.

Dr. Pollio and I talked this evening and our teams will begin working out the details of corrective action plans beginning tomorrow. I am excited about our partnership. I look forward to working with him and his board to make JCPS one of the best urban public school districts in the nation."

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