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JCPS committee members say transportation cuts failed a fairness test, contrary to district claims

A school bus pulls out of a parking space in a large lot under a hazy sunrise.
Jess Clark
JCPS buses leave the Detrick and Nichols Bus Compound after the 8:15 a.m. transfer on Monday, Aug. 21, 2023.

Members of a JCPS community racial equity committee say magnet transportation cuts failed to pass muster in multiple reviews. They’re questioning how the district can claim it “passed.”

Late last week, Jefferson County Public Schools leaders recommended transportation cuts for nearly all of JCPS’ magnet and traditional school students. They say the proposal passes a racial equity and fairness test. But members of the committee who conduct that test say it failed, twice.

Two members of the JCPS Community Racial Equity Analysis Protocol Committee who spoke to LPM News say if the plan did pass the REAP, it wasn’t on their watch.

“People can say whatever they want to say — I was in the room, and I know it didn’t,” Community REAP Committee member Michelle Patrick told LPM News. Patrick is also the chair of the Education Committee for the NAACP of Louisville.

REAP is a tool the district introduced in recent years to vet policies for fairness and impact on low-income students and students of color.

In materials the district sent out late last week, JCPS claimed a REAP committee had signed off on JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio’s recommendation that the district cut transportation for nearly all of JCPS’ magnet and traditional school students.

The webpage claimed that proposal, known as “option 1” was the “only option that has passed the REAP.”


According to two REAP committee members, JCPS staff brought them plans to cut magnet transportation at meetings in November and February. At both meetings, the plan failed to earn the confidence of committee members.

“The options were not acceptable,” Patrick said. “What happens with marginalized children…how do they get to school?”

A second member of the committee who requested to remain anonymous confirmed that none of the options presented by staff passed the community REAPs she participated in.

“All of [the proposals] were problematic,” she said. She said she was surprised when JCPS put out materials saying the plan passed the REAP.

A district spokesperson did not respond by our deadline to questions about how JCPS can claim the plan passed the REAP.

“It bothers me,” Louisville NAACP President Raoul Cunningham told LPM when he learned the district was informing parents that the plan passed the racial equity test.

The Louisville NAACP opposes cuts to magnet transportation. Cunningham also said the public lacks details about the plan itself and its possible impacts, including an estimate of the number of students who would have to change schools.

LPM has obtained documents provided to JCBE members showing the plan passed a different REAP committee on March 11. That REAP committee was comprised of 21 JCPS department heads and school principals, including Chief Communications Officer Carolyn Callahan, Chief Equity Officer John Marshall, Chief Operations Officer Rob Fulk and Chief of Staff Katy DeFerrari.

Board Chair Corrie Shull told LPM it was that only REAP documentation provided to him and other board members for that proposal, and that he didn't know about the community REAPs.

LPM requested documentation last week for all REAPs for all transportation proposals conducted this fall and spring. The district has yet to respond to that records request.

The Jefferson County Board of Education is meeting to vote on the transportation cuts Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the VanHoose Education Center. That room has a maximum capacity of 142 people.

This story has been updated to include additional details on the REAP committee vote on March 11.

Jess Clark is LPMs Education and Learning Reporter. Email Jess at jclark@lpm.org.

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