February 25, 2019
SBDMs are under attack!
I wanted to let you know about several items that are gearing up for passage in the immediate future that can have serious negative implications on our public schools and local councils’ decision-making authority.
First is Senate Bill 250, which was introduced and passed the Senate Education Committee in less than a week. It is poised for passage in the Full Senate this week and will likely move quickly to the House. The bill, sponsored by Julie Raque Adams, has been championed by Greater Louisville Inc. and puts business interests over our student well-being. 15th District PTA President Autumn Neagle testified in Frankfort on Thursday against this bill, stating their organization, which is responsible for parent representative selection, was not even consulted for input before it was filed. SB250 consolidates more power in the hands of the Superintendent by taking it away from parents and teachers who serve on these committees.
Many “priority” schools in the West and South Ends have already lost their principal selection power, further limiting their ability to pull their schools out of priority status. THIS BILL WILL REMOVE PRINCIPAL SELECTION POWER FROM EVERY REMAINING SCHOOL IN JCPS. The bill also reduces the amount of transparency and accountability the administration is required to provide to our elected board members and the public. These efforts are a continuation of a national movement by business leaders to end-run local control and decision-making in order to further their agenda to divert tax dollars away from public schools and into charter schools and private schools. House Bill 205, makes these so-called scholarship tax credits legal, representing a very real threat to our schools.
Finally, the JCPS School Board has been mandated by the state to make significant improvements to their student assignment plan, which is expected to be voted on this summer. However, a massive facilities proposal is set for passage ahead of this decision, expected to be voted on at the March 12 board meeting at 7 PM at Van Hoose. The proposal includes the closing, merging and relocating of nearly a dozen schools in the South and West Ends, reducing the number of seats available in these schools, thereby severely limiting any changes the committee might recommend based results of community feedback. The proposal also depends on a dangerous merger of Breckinridge Metro and Minor Daniels, and relocating them into a non-neutral neighborhood.
Below are some actions you can take THIS WEEK!
- Call 800-372-7181 and leave a message for ALL HOUSE MEMBERS to vote NO on SB250 and HB205 because they undermine public school local decision-making and funding, opening the door to powerful outside interests to profit from tax dollars intended for public school children.
- Visit www.dearjcps.com/advocate and send a one-click email to all JCPS board members asking them to vote NO on any facilities proposals that would limit the student assignment committee’s ability to make authentic changes to the current plan prior to gathering and evaluating community feedback. Failure to drastically improve the student assignment plan could result in another attempted state takeover of JCPS in 2020, this time successfully.
- Show up or sign up to speak at the March 12 board meeting at 7 PM at Van Hoose to share your concerns.
The success of our public schools is dependent upon taking action now. The events are unfolding rapidly, so our window to act is short. Since time is of the essence, please contact me at 502-565-8397 with any questions.
President and Co-Founder, Dear JCPS
President and Co-Founder, Save Our Schools Kentucky