Dear KY Senators,
Outsiders and special business interests have been working to divert funding from public schools in Jefferson County at least two decades. Stereotypes and rhetoric driven by “experts,” many of whom do not have children in our public school system, are falsely arguing that the problems faced by struggling students in our lowest performing schools can be solved by simply opening up charters, offering vouchers and scholarship tax credits, and other privatization strategies that siphon money and students away from public schools. Their ideology is often paired with defunding public schools and diverting funds that should be directed to public school students and teachers benefits to the business sector.
Over the years, we have found ourselves facing such behemoths as ALEC, the Koch Brothers, and those with ties to Mitch McConnell, at the state level, and Mayor Fischer, Humana/David Jones, Jr., and early “astroturf” groups like EdChoice, BIPPS and SCALA, as well as GLI and other business leaders at the local level. Our own district leaders, including district administrators, powerful union leaders and parent organizations, have been complicit in shutting out and the stakeholders in the system while working back-room deals that benefit the elites at the expense of the students, teachers, taxpayers and the district as a whole.
Kentucky is one of the leading states engaging in corruption, and lawmakers making back-room deals in exchange for payouts and campaign support is common practice. Secret, no bid contracts and have been attributed to pension fraud and modern day campaign finance, while pension fund asset manager Blackstone’s CEO had ties to the January 6 insurgency at our Nation’s Capitol. It would be naïve to ignore the possibility that a similar treasonous effort to hold onto power could be under way in Frankfort.
JCPS is the largest school district in Kentucky. Kentucky is the largest state in the US that does not yet have charter schools. In recent history, Louisville voters, teachers, and parents overwhelmingly objected to these efforts, including 8? sickouts in 2018 and 2019 halting vouchers and pension reform, and also preventing the funding mechanism since the bill authorizing charter schools passed in 2017. In 2021, during a pandemic when public access is restricted, last-minute substitutions and blatant lies and misdirection are enabling these bills that specifically target, harm and punish Jefferson County.
JCPS is a district of choice. We don’t need charters. We don’t need a state takeover. We need reform! We need more, not less, transparency and civilian oversight. We have been able to make great strides during recent years, but outside influences and overreaching bills continue to enable the corruption, racketeering and discrimination that we are trying to eliminate. The community has spoken and our own community-led takeover is already under way.
Taxpayers, voters, citizens demand local control of our public schools and our community! A handful of powerful self-dealing local and state leaders are holding us back. We need your help!
Also, please watch this historical reflection of the last day of Kentucky’s General Assembly in 2019.