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Louisville Activists Weigh In On JCPS Deal With The State

school desks classroom
Photo by J. Tyler Franklin

Jefferson County Public Schools has avoided a state takeover, but some groups say an agreement with the state could hurt the school system.

The JCPS Board of Education on Monday night voted 4-3 in favor of an agreement with the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE). The deal means JCPS avoids a state takeover in exchange for a management audit, monthly reports by JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio, central office monitoring by KDE employees and more.

In a tweet Monday evening, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer praised the agreement, saying he was happy to see JCPS and KDE working together.

But some area groups do not agree.

Gay Adelmann is co-founder of Dear JCPS, a group that seeks more accountability and transparency from the local school district. Adelman called the agreement a “slap in the face.”

“The four members of our board who voted to accept a deal really sold us out because they’ve given away power and their ability to continue making the changes that we elected them to make,” Adelmann said. “This is so clear-cut — an attempt to undermine our public schools so that they can profit or promote their political agendas at our children’s expense.”

For Louisville Showing Up For Racial Justice, the decision is a mixed bag.

Member Carla Wallace said the group approves of avoiding a state takeover but they worry the agreement could undermine racial equity work in JCPS.

“We really have no confidence that a state government that has shown itself to be a enemy, really of marginalized communities, of human rights, of budgeting for the poor and for communities in need, would be the best at the helm of the school system,” Wallace said.

The deal will be finalized if KDE votes to dismiss the case for a state takeover of JCPS. Interim Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis, who recommended the takeover after releasing a scathing JCPS audit in April, said he’ll recommend to dismiss the case this week.

Kyeland Jackson is an Associate Producer for WFPL News.