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Louisville NAACP calls for removal of JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio

Raoul Cunningham, president of the NAACP's Louisville chapter.
Brendan McCarthy
Raoul Cunningham, president of the NAACP's Louisville chapter.

The Louisville NAACP is calling for the resignation or dismissal of Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Marty Pollio over his handling of the transportation crisis.

Hours before a surprise vote on transportation cuts, the Louisville NAACP is calling for the departure of Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Marty Pollio.

Speaking at the Louisville NAACP headquarters, branch President Raoul Cunningham said JCPS is “suffering from a crisis in leadership … trust and truth-telling.”

“The district needs a change in leadership. Therefore, the Louisville Branch NAACP is calling for the resignation or dismissal of Superintendent Marty Pollio,” Cunningham said.

The civil rights group is also calling for the resignations of Jefferson County Board of Education members who support any plan to end transportation for any students.

The announcement comes after the board gave 24 hours notice it would move up its vote on next year’s transportation plan. That specially called meeting Wednesday night does not allow for public comment. The board will consider cuts to transportation for magnet and traditional schools.

“It’s all suspect,” NAACP First Vice President Raymond Burse said. “Suspect in terms of, ‘Let's have a meeting where the public can’t participate.’”

Burse said the calling of a special meeting that doesn’t allow for public comment is “a direct violation of the trust that the community has or should have in the school system.”

“And right now we have no confidence particularly in the superintendent and the three board members that called a special meeting on a special night in the African American community,” Burse said, noting that many Black churches hold meetings on Wednesday nights.

Cunningham said the NAACP is also concerned that bumping up the meeting preempts a scheduled gathering to assess the transportation proposals for racial fairness. According to documents obtained by LPM News, a committee formed to put the transportation plan through the Racial Equity Analysis Protocol, or REAP, on Thursday.

“The board is proceeding knowing it has not received and responded to community input,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham said a scathing audit that was presented at last month’s board meeting “gave ample reason” to call for Pollio to step down.

JCBE members who spoke with LPM said they called the meeting at the last minute because they believed Board Chair Corrie Shull had failed to act.

Special meetings can be called by the board chair or any three members of the board. District 2 member Chris Kolb and District 7 member Sarah Cole McIntosh both told LPM that they believed Shull would call a special meeting this week, and when he didn’t, Kolb scheduled it himself, along with District 5 member Linda Duncan and District 4 member Joe Marshall.

“As it seemed clear that the chair did not intend to do what he indicated he would do, others on the board had to make sure the special meeting would indeed take place as quickly as possible,” Kolb wrote in a text to LPM.

Shull said he polled board members about availability last week for a special meeting, but he decided not to proceed because he wanted the plans to go through the REAP.

“I find this process to be disturbing and exclusive and paternalistic at best,” Shull told LPM.

The special meeting is at 6 p.m. at the VanHoose Education Center. Public comment is not required during specially called meetings. Asked if Shull could allow for public comment as board chair, he told LPM that conversations with JCPS attorneys led him to believe he does not have that power.

A JCPS spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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

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