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Appeals court rules in favor of Jefferson Co. Board of Education in SB 1 lawsuit

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The Kentucky Court of Appeals released an opinion affirming that portions of Senate Bill 1 are unconstitutional.

A new opinion from the Kentucky Court of Appeals says portions of Senate Bill 1 that would have limited the Jefferson County Board of Education’s powers are unconstitutional.

The appeals court released an opinion Friday affirming a previous lower court ruling that the Kentucky General Assembly unconstitutionally targeted Jefferson County Public Schools in Senate Bill 1.

The law would have limited how often the Jefferson County Board of Education could meet, required a two-thirds majority vote from board members to adopt new policies, and given authority over “day-to-day” operations to the superintendent.

In its lawsuit, JCBE mentioned five subsections of SB 1 that it said singled out JCPS, thus violating the state constitution.The Court of Appeals determined that provisions in the law targeted JCPS with “unmistakable intent”, specifically by applying the law only in “a county school district in a county with a consolidated local government.”

The ruling stated Jefferson County was the only school district that meets this description.

The court deemed the Legislature violated sections of the state constitution that prohibit special and local legislation.

“My hope is that, in the future, Kentucky lawmakers will be more thoughtful about proposed legislation and work collaboratively with all stakeholders to create and pass bills that are constitutional, equitable and in the best interests of all Kentucky schoolchildren as well as the boards, teachers, staff and administrators who serve them,” JCBE Vice Chair Corrie Shull said in a statement.

Provisions targeting JCPS and its board were added to SB 1 after the bill was introduced in last year’s legislative session. The district was not enforcing the provisions due to the previous lower court ruling in its favor.

Giselle is LPM's breaking news reporter. Email Giselle at grhoden@lpm.org.

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