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JCPS Board Votes On Superintendent Evaluation, Student Assignment Changes

 The Jefferson County Board of Education will vote on two key agenda items at Monday night's board meeting. The first is the evaluation of Superintendent Donna Hargens’ first year on the job. Board chair Steve Imhoff says he’ll be surprised if the evaluation isn’t favorable. But there’s no way of knowing what discussions the board has had. The board met once in private last month and will again meet behind closed doors before Monday night’s board meeting. The decision to meet in executive session is their choice. Legislation was changed in 2010 to allow this, after the Courier-Journal sued the district to gain access to then-superintendent Sheldon Berman’s evaluation. The board is also expected to take action on changes to its student assignment plans at all grade levels. Changes to the elementary plan were approved earlier this year for implementation in the 2012-2013 school year. They include new diversity criteria recommended by student assignment specialist and UCLA professor Dr. Gary Orfield who presented recommendations for changes to the district last year. The plan includes new diversity criteria that recognizes ESL students and already existing diversity in the district, according to recent census data. On Monday, the board will consider adopting for elementary schools Orfield's 13 cluster plan in which parents could choose a school. The district currently has a six cluster plan. The 13 smaller clusters could mean shorter transportation distances for some students, but also less school choice by around half. The board is considering adopting the new diversity requirements for the middle and high school plans that would be implemented in the 2013-2014 school year. The board would likely not approve the 13 cluster plan for middle and high schools.

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