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union, estimated that about one-fifth of people who have been reached by phone have asked for their signatures to be withdrawn.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.
I encourage folks to read the below article. Kolb’s response to the Coalition was insulting and paternalistic- you should be grateful for what we are giving you, be quiet and know your place-the tenor of his entire email was extremely disrespectful. I expected better of him. https://t.co/0xuLT7CIZA pic.twitter.com/3ta2l4Gwdv— Cindy Cushman (@ccush69) October 24, 2020
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.