Accountability, EARN the People's Vote

Email to Board: WARNING, Perfect Storm Coming

Below is an email I sent to the JCPS Board of Education to be included with the official minutes from last night’s Board meeting. It asks a series of questions about internal investigations and secret settlements, but it also addresses the superintendent’s raise and the untold headaches and disasters employees and students are about to face due to a perfect storm of so many changes happening at once. 

Here are some excerpts:

Continuing to create an imbalance between the C-Suite executives and those literally working themselves into sickness and death to keep this ship afloat, is exactly the opposite of what taxpayers want. Those same individuals, now, also have to be your buffer between lost, misused and abused students, angry parents and ignorant community members, as they get bombarded by the bell schedule changes, student assignment changes and everything else all at once.

How do you think it makes them feel to see while they’re doing all of your dirty work and only getting scraps, their kings are feasting? “Tone deaf,” would be an understatement. Not to mention, you gave fodder to the hypocritical GOP, some of whom are the same members who continue to skate by with a nod of endorsement and financial support from the most powerful union in the state. Find your backbones, please. Stand up to the powerful elites who continue to exploit our public school system for their own personal and/or political benefit.

These are the questions I asked:

  • What are the types of cases and what changes are being made to prevent them from recurring?
  • How much are these recurring settlements costing taxpayers?
  • [After an open records request was unsuccessful.] Do you know if there is another method or report that we could request in order to find out the information?
  • If it’s paid by insurance, who is the insurer and how much do taxpayers pay in premiums each year?
  • Also, when will the tax increase dashboard that was promised in 2020 be made available to the public?
  • What kind of reporting exists for the complaints that are submitted via the intake form on the JCPS website?
  • What types of incidents are reported, how are they resolved, what systemic changes are made to prevent them from happening again or leading to lawsuits?

Read the entire thing here:

2023-07-25 | Email to JCPS BOE to Include with Minutes – Dear JCPS

Also during last night’s meeting, the board refused to protect trans students from oppressive and discriminatory legislation passed by vengeful and ignorant Kentucky lawmakers, at least for now. They tabled the vote until up to August 15. At least they passed a resolution giving lip service to them, which is more than they were willing to do for Black students.

Accountability, EARN the People's Vote

STILL No Appetite for Tax Increase on Ballot

UPDATE: The Board voted 6-1 on a second motion that capped the increase at the allowable 4%, which means there will be no petition and no measure on the 2023 ballot. We won … for now.

Below is the email I sent to the board prior to Tuesday night’s meeting.

Dear JCPS Board Members, Superintendent Pollio and Members of the Media:

I hope this message finds you well and in time for consideration before tonight’s vote.

I am not sure why there seems to have been so much secrecy behind tonight’s rushed public forum and vote on Dr. Pollio’s proposed tax rate increase over the allowable 4%. From where I sit, it doesn’t bode well for transparency and good stewardship of tax dollars.

I wish I had more time to gather my thoughts and double-check my facts, but alas, the meeting starts in less than half an hour, so I must hit send soon if I hope to have any opportunity to prevent our district from making what I foresee to be a grave mistake. Hopefully you are already as concerned about this stealth-like move as I am, but just in case you’re not, I write to ask you to please vote NO on any tax increase over 4% for fiscal period 2023-2024 and provide you with some rationale in the hopes it will change your mind.

In my work as a community leader and organizer with several grassroots organizations in Jefferson County and across Kentucky, you may recall I reached out to warn you that there was no appetite for a tax increase in 2020. The email, dated Sept. 1, 2020, read, in part:

“For nearly six months, Coalition leaders have been trying to warn JCPS decision-makers of the increasing number of grassroots organizations that feel Louisville’s Black and West End voters have zero appetite for a tax increase at this time. We fear district efforts to further advance this agenda without demonstrating a good-faith effort to earn the vote of Black voters and their allies, is likely to backfire, resulting in a failure of this ballot measure.”

Read more ==>>

Accountability, EARN the People's Vote

The Media Seems To Have Missed This …

The JCPS Board of Education, today, announced a “Tax Rate Hearing” for this coming Tuesday at 5:30 PM “for the purpose of hearing public comments regarding a proposed 2023-24 General Fund tax levy of at most 80.0 cents on real property and at most 80.0 cents on personal property.”

At a “Special Meeting” scheduled at 6:00 PM, Superintendent Marty Pollio will recommend the Board of Education approve the proposed tax rate, opening the door for another heated and controversial debate prior to the November election.

Read more here ===>>>

District Boundaries, EARN the People's Vote, Privatization of Public Education, Racial Equity, Standardized Testing

Run for JCPS School Board!

Four of the seven JCPS Board of Education seats are up for grabs this November. If you’ve been thinking you would like to see things done differently in JCPS, this may be your chance to find someone to run for school board in your area, or maybe even file to run yourself! The deadline to file is Tuesday, June 7.

The seats that are open are the ones currently held by Diane Porter, James Craig, Linda Duncan and Corrie Shull. Their bios can be found here. As of the date of this page’s publishing, only James Craig (District 3, incumbent) and Matthew Singleton (District 5, Linda Duncan’s seat) have filed to run in November. 

Visit JCPS School Board Central – 2022 for information on how to file, who is running, their positions on important issues, and other updates as we head into election season.

Budget, District Boundaries, EARN the People's Vote, Privatization of Public Education, Racial Equity

KY Supreme Court Hears JCPS Tax Increase Case

In the midst of everything else going on, on February 17, 2022, the Kentucky Supreme Court heard the arguments for and against the tax increase appearing on the ballot in November of 2020.

Watch the KET recording here:

Program

Below is a summary by WFPL Reporter, Jess Clark.

Ky. Supreme Court hears arguments in JCPS tax case

The Court did not give an indication on when the justices will issue a ruling.

Accountability, EARN the People's Vote, Police Free Schools

We Support Philly Students’ Demands!

Imagine a world where ALL children feel safe in their schools and not fearful of becoming the next victim of racial profiling or police brutality. Help us get the message to those who have the power to correct the injustices that our BIPOC students across this nation face every day.

Philadelphia Student Union Representatives write:

We are writing with a request to support our family at the Philadelphia Student Union. As you may have heard, Philadelphia police murdered Walter Wallace Jr, a young Black man in the middle of a mental health crisis, in West Philly, not too far from PSU’s office and the site of the MOVE bombing. Since then, folks have been mobilizing and protesting, including young people. The police, like they always do, have been violent against protestors. PSU youth have drafted a statement and continue to demand police free schools and the end of racist policing in their schools and communities. School policing is a violent system. Street policing is a violent system. PSU has known this first hand.

Below is their statement:

https://www.phillystudentunion.com/post/our-statement-on-the-murder-of-walter-wallace-jr-by-the-police

PSU is also asking folk who can, to call the Board of Education demanding they abolish the school safety office that employs to school police. 

Call, email, or write a letter!

Phone Number: 215 400 4010

Email: schoolboard@philasd.org

Twitter:

Sample script and contact info provided below!!  Also tweet this story using icon at the bottom of the page.
#JusticeForWalter #PoliceFreeSchools

EARN the People's Vote, Student Assignment

JCPS VOTERS BE FOREWARNED: 

Over the past several months, Chris Kolb failed to return calls or meet with key Coalition for the People’s Agenda Education Committee representatives. In a Sept. 2, 2020 email addressed to 12 Black and Black-allied leaders who had expressed objections to not being able to be heard at board meetings since March in order to voice concerns about the proposed student assignment plan changes not going far enough (https://dearjcps.com/we-the-people-object/), he responded with:
 
“It is very difficult for me to imagine how investing over $50 million in West Louisville and giving families in West Louisville more choice will have anything but a positive impact on students and families that live in West Louisville.”
 
To which Tyra Walker, co-chair of the Kentucky Alliance replied,
 
“What is also concerning is for someone to think that putting $50 million for new schools and school choice is all the Black community wants. The Black community is woke and they see clearer than they have ever seen before. They understand that it is going to take more than money and new buildings to create equity and a quality education for their children/students. They want more and that is what [we have] been working towards.
 
Jody Hurt, on the other hand, has not only attended Coalition meetings, he has listened and expressed explicit support for the demands coming from these grassroots groups and would vote in favor of the Resolution in support of the People’s Agenda. For this reason, Dear JCPS endorses Jody Hurt, instead of Chris Kolb. If you live in the Highlands/Crescent Hill area and haven’t already voted, please consider a vote for Jody Hurt.
 
And if you’ve already voted, (or still insist on voting for Kolb), at least give him a call and ask him “WTH?” If you would like to read the email exchange in its entirety, you may request a copy by email at moderator@dearjcps.com.
 
Dear JCPS endorsed Chris Kolb in 2016, as evidenced by this opinion piece written by our co-founder, Gay Adelmann. JCTA and the Courier Journal did not. How ironic.
EARN the People's Vote, Privatization of Public Education

School Board Candidate WARNING!

If you live in District 7 (see map), or know folks who do, we need your urgent attention! Chris Brady has decided not to seek reelection to Jefferson County’s 7-person school board and there is a dangerous candidate hoping to fill his seat. We need your help in making sure this does not happen. 

Not only are Tammy Stewart’s attitudes dangerous to our non-white students and their families, her views about improving educational outcomes are misguided and proven ineffective.

As evidenced in this screenshot from a recent post where she is seen confusing privilege with hard work and life choices, stating privilege is “politically correct bullkrap,” she’s also been documented making anti-immigrant and anti-teacher comments. 

Her comments made headlines when she stated,

“DEMOCRATS WANT TO GIVE ILLEGAL ALIENS EVERYTHING INCLUDING FLYING THEM BACK INTO THIS COUNTRY AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN DEPORTED! MURDERERS RAPISTS AGGRAVATED ASSAULT AND PEDOPHILES AND MORE. WHILE THE WHOLE TIME WE THE AMERICAN CITIZENS ARE PAYING FOR THIS! DAAAMMNNN!”

Additional red flags have been raised, from her late entry into the race, to frequent sharing of false news on social media, to the cavalier comments she made about reopening schools stating, “we’re all going to die from something.”

These types of statements are common from candidates who have often been recruited by the tea party and ALEC operatives, with close ties to Mitch McConnell and Matt Bevin, and have a history of predatory ambitions with funds intended for our public schools. We have successfully removed a number of these elected and appointed leaders over the past few years, but must remain vigilant if we hope to keep them at bay.

Wait, there’s good news!

Fortunately, there is an excellent alternative running in this race. Dear JCPS is honored to endorse Sarah Cole McIntosh for District 7. She is an educator and a JCPS parent. She cares about all of our students, knowing that solutions to our current public education crisis come from investing in and supporting our children, especially the most marginalized and vulnerable among us; not by labeling them, denying them resources and defunding our schools.

Vote for Sarah McIntosh for District 7.

Other key Dear JCPS endorsements include:

  • Jody Hurt for District 2 and
  • YES on the Tax Levy.
Order a VOTE YES sign for your yard!

 

 

 

 

More information about Dear JCPS 2020 endorsements. Support continuation of our work by making a contribution.

 

 

 

Accountability, EARN the People's Vote, Student Assignment

Timeline of Recent Events

The public has been denied the opportunity to speak at JCPS board meetings since COVID forced all public meetings to be held virtually in March.

On July 16, Gay Adelmann and Tyra Walker met with Dr. Pollio over Zoom, to make him aware that a handful of powerful players were continuing to derail grassroots groups’ efforts to support the tax increase. Gay sent a follow-up text message to Dr. Pollio demonstrating these concerns. To date, there has been no reply to these text messages.

On July 27, Dear JCPS severed ties with the local chapter of the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools, due to continued microagressions from leadership delaying and dismantling grassroots efforts to coalition-build.

On Aug. 6, leaders from four Black-led and Black-allied organizations requested an “URGENT” meeting with Dr. Pollio to let him know we had concerns that the consulting firm’s strategy for the tax increase was out of touch with many in the Black and West End communities and could backfire. With major changes to the Student Assignment Plan anticipated to be voted on at the August 17 board meeting, it was imperative these voices be heard before that meeting.

On Aug. 10, this article was published, “Louisville voters to decide on JCPS tax increase after petition collects enough signatures”. It states,

A group of teachers and community members that has been calling petition signees to verify signatures are finding several petitioners who say they didn’t sign the petition and want their names removed. 

Emilie McKiernan Blanton, a JCPS teacher and leader in the local teachers union, estimated that about one-fifth of people who have been reached by phone have asked for their signatures to be withdrawn.

The effort is not officially tied to the union, she said. Murphy said the district did not organize the coalition, either, but was aware of the effort.

On Aug. 11, the co-chairs of the Kentucky Alliance sent a request to district leadership to allow public comment.

On Aug. 17, we continued to express our concerns about not being heard, and invited allies to join us in next steps, which included reaching out to Board Members to demand Justice for Black JCPS Students. We learned that the Student Assignment Plan decisions would not be made at that time.

On Aug. 18, “JCPS to challenge petition against proposed tax increase” was published. It states,

The findings come after a group of teachers and community members, not tied to an official union effort, found several people who said they didn’t sign the petition and wanted their names removed, The Courier Journal previously reported. 

Multiple school board members said the analysis’s findings concerned them.

“It’s not clear to me that Jefferson County voters received a fair review of this petition,” board member James Craig said in a message. “This petition process seems to be completely devoid of any integrity. I am alarmed at what I’ve seen unfold during this debate.”

On Sept. 1, members of the Coalition for the People’s Agenda sent the following email to the JCPS Board, asking that it be included in the minutes: We, the People, Object!

Later that night, during the Sept. 1 board meeting, Dr. Pollio told the board and the public that a REAP had been done on the current student assignment plan, when in fact, it hadn’t. We published a summary here: Where’s the REAP?

The following morning, the Coalition received a tone-deaf response from Board member Chris Kolb that completely dismissed the concerns of the group leaders, who were mostly Black. 

On Wednesday, Sept. 23, more than a dozen Black-led and Black-allied grassroots leaders finally had their first opportunity to share their concerns with Dr. Pollio since July 16.

On Friday, Sept. 25, Dr. Pollio sent a text message explaining the misunderstanding and has agreed to conduct a REAP on the current, entire plan at the next Student Assignment task force meeting, but we still don’t know when that is. We are running out of time!

On Tuesday, Sept. 29, in lieu of being able to speak publicly at that night’s board meeting, Dear JCPS co-founder, Gay Adelmann, sent another email regarding the REAP to the JCPS Board and allied organizational leaders, to be included in meeting minutes. It included Friday’s text message from Dr. Pollio and four follow-up questions. 

During the Board meeting, @JCPSSuper appeared to be responding to some of the Coalition’s demands for an “anti-racist budget” during the budget discussion, further defining the resolution that was passed on Sept. .

  • “New and innovative learning spaces in schools throughout the district, especially in West Louisville. We will be breaking ground on two schools this coming month.”
  • “New investments in our athletic facilities all over the district.”
  • “All of our AIS schools with more teachers, smaller class sizes, multiple mental health professionals in the school and social workers.”
  • “This is the work to provide those mental health professionals. I’d like  to see three [mental health professionals] in each of our AIS schools, more time for professional development, and extended learning in our AIS schools.
  • Fund the racial equity initiatives, like bridging the digital divide, expansion of restorative practices across all of our schools, providing quality choice for every student in the district and expansion of our teacher residency program, so that our teacher demographics directly reflect our student demographics.
  • “Finally, we’ll see 10,000 targeted students in summer learning programs to increase outcomes for students, especially in reading and math.”

On Thursday, Oct.1, we received an email from Dena Dossett letting us know they were planning to conduct the REAP at the Oct. 7 task force meeting.

 

 

 

Join us for a watch party on our Facebook page beginning at 5:00 PM Wednesday.

On October 14, we met with the district’s communication chair and asked for introductions to the tax increase strategy team so that we could collaborate the last two weeks of the campaign. This effort has been hit or miss. Mostly miss.

On Oct. 21, this bombshell was dropped. https://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/education/2020/10/21/jcps-tax-petition-leader-theresa-camoriano-says-nemes-gave-her-access-to-republican-voter-database/5998019002/

JCTA decided not to rescind Jason Nemes’ endorsement.

On Friday, Oct. 20, the judge ruled that the petition did not have enough signatures and that it would be thrown out.

On Nov. 2, this article detailing some of the involvement from SCALA and David Jones, Jr. was published. This was denied previously. District leaders have some explaining to do, but we will get to that when the time is right. 

2021

In January, 2021, several rank and file teachers who have been less than complicit with the continued abuses listed above decided to challenge status quo and run for JCTA Board of Directors. When the election results were reported, some of those teachers filed a legal challenge to the election results, based on a number of factors.

 

JCTA Election Challenge

Meanwhile, the Coalition for the People’s Agenda Education Committee continues to meet and refine our list of demands. Email moderator@dearjcps.com for a Zoom link to our next meeting.

Accountability, EARN the People's Vote, Teachable Moment

Daquan’s First Weapons Charge

A true story about microaggressions, racism and feeding the pipeline to prison.

“Dear JCPS,

Before I start to disclose the contents of the topic of this letter, I want to state that everything in this letter is a FACT!  Not some hypothetical situation.  Not some situation that happened somewhere else in America (although it could have).  But this is a true story that happened in the not-so-distant past right here in Louisville, KY.  While all of these facts can be proven (the very definition of a fact) as they are documented in various emailed documents to the district (making them subject to open records) and I have seen them with my own eyes, the name of the minor will be protected including adult names and locations. Furthermore, so that we are clear on the facts, I will provide other evidence such as photographs and policies from inside and outside of the district to substantiate the facts in this case.  

A fifth grade black male student brought a disposable razor to school.  The disposable razor was not out and the only reason anyone knew he had brought it to school was because he needed to get a pencil or piece of paper out of his locker. “

Read the full story here: Daquans First Weapons Charge