Budget

Dear Mr. Brady,

Just curious where this JCPS HR issue stands to date (“I am 100% integrity“). It was brought to light at an earlier board meeting yet, there has been no update. Can you offer, at this time, any updates for the public on this matter. Is there truth to the matter, has it been swept under the rug, or is it of false nature? Mr. Brady, we are counting on you to keep transparent.

I noticed HR director Tiffeney Armour is presenting HR annual report at tomorrow’s (July 25, 2017) Board of Ed meeting. Will this topic/issue be addressed as well? Please address and update.

Signed,

Very Concerned

 

From an earlier board meeting:

Dear JCPS,

My name is H.G., I am a freshman at Doss High School. I agree with busing for many reasons. If busing was to stop many families without transportation would be affected greatly. Families only want the best education for their children. If busing is the way to get their kids to a better school on time and efficiently why would you cancel that?

One reason I agree with busing is because, it gives all students opportunities to go to school in areas with more money. The diversity of schools is another reason, some say it raises test scores and balances the races between classrooms. Racial integration is a worthy goal and busing is an easy means to achieving these goals. Students will be able to become friends with kids who are unlike them and have different interests.

But busing isn’t all that is expected, there are some cons of busing too. Students are forced to be on the bus for hours at a time. It is also harder to be involved with after school activities if you live an hour or two away from your school and you want to go to a game or be in a sport it won’t be as easy as it is with a child that lives ten to fifteen minutes away. Children in higher socioeconomic areas naturally have more opportunities than with children who do not. It also can focus on where children go to school rather than the quality of their education.

Although busing has its ups and downs it’s a convenient way for kids in the east to go the west and vice-versa. Busing is an affordable way to achieve desegregation that only makes up about five percent of the operating cost of a school district once the system is in place. Desegregation diminishes many of these disparities and creates a more just society.

In conclusion busing is the way to go. It may have its downs but all around it’s the smartest choice. It will have less complaints and it will be equal for kids to go where they want to go.

Thank you,
H.G.

Dear JCPS,

I am C. F., a freshman at Doss High School. In this letter, I am going to tell you my views on busing, and why I believe it has an important role in keeping our community desegregated and diverse. If busing ends, and the bill stating we have to attend our neighborhood schools passes, they would be segregating public schools, not only by social economic class but also by race, given that some neighborhoods consist mostly of white or black people.

I was looking at the reasons to end busing and one I find very comical is ” Busing causes white flight- where white families move their children from public schools to private and suburban institutions”- Why is that even one of the reasons? (Also the term ‘white flight’ is hilarious.) Are white people afraid of diversity? Some parents move their children to private schools because well, they can afford it and they want their child to get a better education. I don’t think that the diversity in their schools is the main reason why they do it. Busing gives students opportunities to be with students who are unlike them and it eliminates racism and discrimination.

Doss High School is diverse like every other JCPS public school. I believe that students are better thanks to that. I have personally never seen bullying around here because of race or sexual orientation. They don’t judge you because you’re different, they just don’t care. Here, no matter how weird you are, you will always find more people that are like you, that’s the beauty of diversity, you don’t feel alone and left out. Sure there are still trouble makers and misbehaviors in classrooms but that happens everywhere; it mostly depends on the teacher you have. While with one teacher we are little devils and frustrating, with another one we are angels and a good class.

Busing gives all students opportunities to go to schools in areas with more money and get the education they want. My neighborhood school is Iroquois but I applied to Doss because of their STEM program. It teaches what I want to learn and the teachers are great. They want you to succeed and they give you chances to remediate and prove you know the material you once failed. All students have the chance to get A’s and B’s, some don’t because they’re too lazy to try.

Now the cons about busing that I found valid and I feel there’s a solution to them: 1. Hard for students to be involved in after school activities; 2. Parents cannot be involved in school if it’s far away; 3. Students are on the bus for hours. First of all, students and parents choose to go through this. Jcps automatically assigns you to your neighborhood school, sometimes it might be another one that might be far away, but then if you wish to attend another school of your liking you can apply to go there. If the school you want to go to is far away but you still choose to go there, it’s your decision, you knew that it would be a long bus ride and that it will be hard for you to be involved in after school activities. Also, parents can be involved in their child’s education in many ways, they don’t necessarily have to go to the school to do that.

Now, the really long bus rides, but in the government’s perspective. It does cost a lot of money in gas and maintenance; my proposition is to put a limit on how long the bus rides can be. Like ‘your bus shouldn’t be taking longer than 40 min to drop you off’ and 40 min isn’t as long as it seems since they have to take different routes and stops for different students. If the student wishes to attend a school further than that anyway, then it is the parent’s responsibility to drive them to school and pick them up every day.

Remember it’s the student’s choice they’re taking away if you stop busing because some kids don’t have parents with cars or they don’t have anyone available to take them. Thank you for taking your time to read this letter.

Sincerely,
C.F.

Dear JCPS,

I am a JCPS student at Doss High School and I am here to share with you my opinion about the busing trouble you are facing this time. As everybody knows JCPS is in charge to transporting of children to a school outside their residential area as a means of achieving racial balance in that school to prevent segregation. This is an issue really important in our community.

I believe busing must be continued. It’s give a lot opportunities to us. As we know JCPS gives all students opportunities to meet students who are unlike them and this increases the diversity and knowledge about different cultures and traditions of Americans, African-American, and international students. Between those opportunities JCPS gives all students opportunities to go to schools in areas with more money its means better education, some people say it raise test score.

Also we have to take in consideration JCPS is trying to terminate the racism and discrimination between students and increase the diversity and tolerance. The only way to make people comfortable with people from different backgrounds is just to spend more time with them. DESEGREGATION that the clue word.

Almost 50 years ago before I was born, Unites States of America was divided according to the race, the color and where you came from. These country faced a lot troubles and violence to be what is today. Segregation was one of the most ridiculous and racist thing that exist in this country, but our city persisted, led by the courage of African American parents and children. And thanks to their sacrifices, I was able to attend high-quality, integrated public schools in Louisville. Now I am telling you stop busing is not the answer.

But at the same time I think is time to change some things in your system. I believe if you fix some details your busing system would work again.

For a long time I was thinking about the solutions and benefits if you increases the number of buses in our community, with this option you can have a better plan at the time you accommodate the students and also you can save time and bring jobs opportunities in our community. To make this possible a lot student and parents can sing a formal letter to the state with this solicitude.

Also we have to take in consideration if JCPS stop busing, is a violation of the 14 AMENDMENT, which said, we all have the right to get equal and proper education. No matter where we live.

The reason I’m writing this letter is to continue busing. In my civics class we learned a lot about segregation, and the negative effects this cause. I wish that you will consider reading this and hopefully it influences you. Thank you for reading my letter it makes me happy to know that JCPS listens to its students and don’t just make decisions on their own.

Sincerely,
FAF

Dear JCPS Board of Education Members,

On November 30, I spoke before the board and asked for follow-up data with regards to Adam Edelen’s audit. To date, I have not received a response.

In particular, I am interested in knowing how the following numbers look today, relative to what was identified by the audit several years ago.

  • JCPS ranks at or near the bottom in teacher staffing and expenditures for instruction, while ranking highest in the categories of administrators, support staff and instructional aides.1
  • Specifically, he found that the district pays 369 administrators more than $100,000 a year.2
  • JCPS also had the second-highest student-to-teacher ratio,
  • JCPS ranked the lowest in instructional spending, (at 53 percent of its budget (four of the other five were 60 percent or higher), while ranking highest in administration and operations spending, at 31 percent of its budget.)

Please provide a report with this information as soon as possible.

Following the April 26 board meeting last year when the Community Advisory Team (CAT) made observations that “JCPS needs market reconciliation for teachers, certified administrators and classified positions,” – nearly a year ago –  I sent district leaders the following email message (to which I also received no formal response). In addition to concerns about the CAT make-up, I also mentioned:

“… you’ll recall, the original audit from Adam Edelen came with the observation that administrative salaries were too high, not teachers’. So I’m not sure how this discussion led to the talking point that teachers are “overpaid.” I’m guessing the committee mix above could have had something to do with it. … Again, we feel that the make-up of this committee has led to some very short-sighted conclusions, and seems to have missed the point entirely.”

Upon requesting information as to how these recommendations came about, we were told no minutes were kept. It would appear to us that open meetings and open records laws were violated. Honest mistake, perhaps, but much of this painful detour could have been avoided had the process been more transparent and inclusive of authentic stakeholder input from the beginning.

I further cautioned, “Parents, community members, teachers, students all need district leaders who will do better than this. We ask that JCPS go back to the drawing board to make sure these decisions are being influenced by committees made up of people who bring balanced and “tuned-in” perspectives, who will work together to find equitable and sustainable solutions, and provide our school board with proposals that are likely to result in the best results — the first time! Our kids’ futures are at stake. We don’t get do-overs.”

Taxpayers deserve transparent decision-making and authentic answers to our questions. We expect to see action taken as it relates to the actual “action items” in the audit, or answers that can be used to dispel myths that continue to be used against our district in Frankfort. And we demand accountability. When mistakes are made, we want to know, as our former board chair put it so eloquently, “whose throat to choke.”

I truly thank you for your willingness to serve as an advocate for Jefferson County students. I look forward to your reply.

Thanks, Gay

Gay Adelmann
Dear JCPS

Ms. Weaver’s Exploring Civics Class at Doss High School in Louisville, KY takes a look at proposed legislation and how it would directly impact them, their peers and community.

Students in Ms. Weaver’s Exploring Civics Class at Doss High School recently learned about the history of desegregation, busing and current events that could impact student assignment in JCPS. They submitted the following letters sharing what they learned and their opinions on the subject, both pro and con, from the student perspective. We wanted to share their amazing letters with you.

Dear JCPS offers an open-letter format. We welcome other students to submit their opinion letters here.

Disclaimers: Opinions are expressly those of the author, and not Dear JCPS. Dear JCPS is not affiliated with Jefferson County Public School system.

Dear JCPS,

I am writing you to talk about the local controversy about busing in JCPS, and as a former victim of busing I say that it needs to come to an end. Although I see why busing is a touchy topic, and it’s hard to say that I feel this way in the first place I believe that there are many more cons to busing versus pros. In the 6th grade I was bused from my home on downtown market street to Crosby middle school, and I hated it. Every minute of it.

Every morning it took me 45 minutes to an hour to get to school, and I had no other choice, I could go to any school in the neighborhood, after the long, painful bus ride when I was inside the school I still dreaded it. Me and everyone that was bused from downtown did not get along with the kids that came from the neighborhood, often found it were one group was having an issue with another group, mainly because of the much different economic status that took place in the school. Downtown is a mainly poor area, and I grew up that way, and kids around the school were fairly wealthy. Me and other kids I knew from downtown were picked on because we didn’t have name brand clothes, or the new iPhone and that caused fights and arguments, and that sucked, but the issue was never about race, and that’s because busing has stopped that issue.

It’s hard to say that I am against busing because it gets rid of the major racism issue, and I’d say that is the biggest part of why busing needs to stay, but it starts so many issues in school and out that instead of getting rid of busing entirely, you need to replace the system. I am against busing don’t get me wrong, having to ride the bus for an hour is ridiculous, one time I finished an entire video game on the bus riding to and home from school. But getting rid of busing without a good replacement is a huge mistake. So I’d like to discuss a plan that I believe could work for busing in jcps.

Not only would ending busing altogether [create] an issue with segregation, but it would make everyone be forced to go to their neighborhood schools, and now that I’m in high school, I would KILL if I was forced to go to my neighborhood school. So I believe that ending busing, but allowing kids to stay in the school that there already in would be a good alternative. Some kids that are being bused enjoy it, they like where they go to school and don’t want to go to their neighborhood school, I understand that, so I think that if you are a student of busing and busing gets replaced you should be able to decide [if] you stay in the school you are currently in, or move to your closest neighborhood school. I know that that plan is far from flawless, and I can see issues with it now, but I like that base idea of it. I think that this plan can be worked on to make a plan that can ultimately make JCPS a better district and a better community. Thank you for your time for reading this letter.

Sincerely,
LB,
A Doss High School Student

Dear JCPS,

Hello, my name is JS. I am a Doss High School student. I am on the freshman side. I would like to discuss something with you today. I would like to have a conversation about the busing of Louisville, Kentucky. I don’t ride the bus but I have friends that do. Also, I don’t like that they are thinking to change it or just stop the busing. It really makes me sad. I would miss my friends so much.

I believe that we should still have busing in Louisville, Kentucky. This is because when you have classes with other kids from different sides of town or different countries, you can learn something from them. You can learn something about their town that you didn’t know or what they like and what they like or dislike about their town or countries. Also you can learn about their different cultures or habits also what they enjoy and what there are.

My second reason is that we have equal opportunities. They got to see new places. Instead of sitting at home. See what’s outside of their neighborhood look like. View more options in their life-time adventures. Maybe, if they do that then they might not drink beer or do drugs. It might help us save a life. We can get them out of the gangs that they’re in.

My third reason: Maybe, one kid in the classroom doesn’t really like talking to their own race of people. Maybe they have friends of different races. This sounds like me. I don’t really have many white friends. Most of my friends are different races.

Also, there is a flip side to this. They could end up doing something and getting people into other things. They could end up getting others in trouble. They could bring drugs into the cities. They could bring it into the country-side too. They could end up messing up people’s careers and their futures too. Please consider my side.

Please don’t change anything about the busing. I would lose all of my friends. I would really miss them.

JS

Dear JCPS,

My name is AR and I’m writing you this letter to talk to you about busing in Louisville, Kentucky. This is really important topic because it affects me, my friends, my classmates, and my family. My opinion about this is that you should continue busing because I want to choose the school I want to go to. If I go to my neighborhood school, then I might not get as good of an education than if I’d stay at Doss.

Here are a couple of reasons why you should keep busing. First of all if we keep busing then it will give us students opportunities to go to schools with more money. Another reason to keep busing is that it eliminates racism in schools. Racial integration is a worthy goal, and busing is an easy means to achieving that goal. Racism is a big problem in the United States and it needs to be eliminated so that everybody can be in peace.

Now one thing you can do to improve busing is maybe changing the routes to where they are faster and you can be there on time to school. Nobody wants to be late to school and miss work then you would have to do it for homework. We want busing in Louisville so if there’s any chance you should change the routes to make them faster. That will improve busing and make it better so we don’t have to worry about kids being late.

Here are a couple of more reasons to keep busing. It gives the people the ability to meet new people and make new friends. Nobody wants to be stuck with the same people each year in the school years. Another reason is that desegregation diminishes many of the disparities and creates a more just society.

The reason I’m writing this letter is to continue busing. In my civics class we learned a lot about segregation. I wish that you will consider reading this and hopefully it influences you. Thank you for reading my letter it makes me happy to know that JCPS listens to its students and don’t just make decisions on their own.

Sincerely,
AR

Dear JCPS,

My name is EC. I am currently a freshman attending Doss High school. I am for busing but I believe that there is a way to help ensure that students don’t have to stay on the bus for hours at a time. As a student on my beginning year of high school, I have made lots of friends and enjoy the school I am currently attending. If they were to stop busing and send students to neighborhood schools I would have to go to [a different] High School.

One way we could improve the busing of students in JCPS is to lessen the amount of bus stops the bus has to go to. By lessening the amount of bus stops the bus takes to pick up students it reduces the amount of gas the bus is using and it also prevents overcrowding. Many buses today have way too many students and this can cause accidents and bus fights to occur. So, we could lessen the amount of bus stops and two of the major problems with busing are solved.

Another way is to allow students with good grades, attendance, and etcetera to attend schools of their choice and if they do not qualify for this then they get sent to schools closer to home. This allows more students to have a choice. Many students go to certain schools because of the certain programs that school has to offer. I see no reason to take away their privilege and taking away the bus that gets them to and from the learning that they desire.

Lastly, we could offer programs that certain schools have to other schools so that some students have a reason to want to go to schools closer to home. This also gives students the chance to participate in extracurricular activities such as sports and clubs that they want to join. Doing this would encourage to go to home schools but it opens opportunities for more students to go to schools of their choice.

I understand this process is going to be a long one. Please, understand many students go to certain schools because they choose too. I believe this new system will help to better the busing system in all JCPS schools.

Sincerely,
EC