How Charter Schools Infiltrated JCPS

Jefferson County Public Schools, or JCPS, is the largest school district in Kentucky and somewhere in the top 25 to 30 largest in the nation. It is a consolidated city and county school district of nearly 100,000 students residing in Louisville, Kentucky.  

So, let us tell you about the series of predatory, fraudulent and/or discriminatory patterns and practices that we’ve been witnessing and documenting here in Jefferson County, going back more than a decade, starting with the infiltration of our community organizations and neighborhoods by ALEC-backed and funded efforts.

Our story begins in 2011 when the local community learns about hedge fund managers and business partners Matt Bevin and Chris Derry through this fluff piece on Biz Journals. Don’t worry if you can’t read it without a subscription. I screenshot the part that confirms who their members are and the relationship between Bevin and Derry, which was why I wanted you to see it. But the filing from the Kentucky Secretary of State’s website (above) is more confirmation of this partnership.

Oct. 7, 2011 – Waycross Partners investment firm builds track record in spite of recession (Biz Journals)

Fast forward a couple of years and PR Watch does this story on the ALEC agenda being pushed in a number of states, including Kentucky. Derry is quoted describing how he just added the words “for Kentucky” to the canned legislation they sent him before he hit the fundraising trail. He refers to the business model he’s following as a “franchise” in the BIPPS section on SourceWatch. Screenshots and sources are provided below.

Nov. 22, 2013 – SPN: Right-Wing Stink Tanks Pushing the ALEC Agenda in the States (PR Watch)

Jan. 27, 2015 – Matt Bevin to Make Shock Run for Kentucky Governor (The Atlantic)

Feb. 13, 2015 – SUNDAY EDITION | Associate of JCPS Board Chairman David Jones Jr. played key role in district hiring (WDRB Konz)

May 6, 2015 – Comer, Bevin Accuse Heiner of Dirty Tactics During Kentucky Gubernatorial Debate (WFPL)

May 19, 2015 – Hal Heiner concedes race for governor (WDRB)

May 20, 2015 – Bevin edges Comer by 83 votes in GOP race; Heiner wins Laurel (Sentinel Echo)

Dec. 4, 2015 – Gov-elect Bevin names primary opponent education and workforce secretary (Lane Report)

Dec. 9, 2015 – Bevin reiterates desire to bring charter schools to Kentucky (WHAS11)

Dec. 29, 2015 – Gov. Bevin discusses ‘school choice’, charters with local pastors (WHAS11)

Bevin Lashes Out at Teachers’ Unions During Louisville Charter School Rally (WFPL)

Hal Heiner, Secretary of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, takes a tour of the Academy @ Shawnee, the ESL Newcomer Academy, and an Early Childhood classroom.

Feb. 12, 2016 – Hal Heiner Visits Shawnee (Open Records Story Board)

Sept. 19, 2016 – Bevin Calls on Lawmakers to Pass Charter School Legislation

Hal Heiner visits Maupin Elementary.

Dec. 5, 2016 – State official encourages JCPS to ‘think bolder’ during Maupin Elementary Visit

2014 – 2017 – Maupin School of Innovation Timeline of Events (Facebook)

April 16, 2018 – Bevin appoints Heiner, former communications director to education posts (Kentucky Today)

Hal Heiner Leaves Bevin Administration To Join Kentucky Board Of Education (WFPL)

Hal Heiner resigns from Bevin cabinet to accept seat on Ky. Board of Education (WDRB)

JCPS critic Hal Heiner resigns cabinet post to join Kentucky Board of Education (Courier Journal)

April 17, 2018 – Wayne D. Lewis Jr. named interim commissioner of education (Kentucky Teacher)

April 18, 2018 – Stephen Pruitt pushed out of office by Bevin’s education board (TCPalm)

Stephen Pruitt resigns as Kentucky education commissioner (WFPL)

July 22, 2018 – Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin shakes up state’s education boards (Courier Journal)

Nov. 9, 2018 – Wayne Lewis to press Kentucky legislature for charter school funding (Courier Journal)

April 11, 2022 – Ky. legislature overrides veto of bill that creates a permanent funding system for charter schools (Lex18)

This list of relevant events will be continuously updated.