Challenge To JCPS Interim Assignment Plan Rejected

by Rick Howlett on March 11, 2008

A federal judge has dismissed a challenge to the temporary student assignment plan to be used by Jefferson County Public Schools during the next academic year.

The challenge came from attorney Ted Gordon, who says the school district continues to use a racial quota system to place students, in violation of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last summer.

But U.S. District Judge John Heyburn ruled that Gordon needs to present specific people who believe they’ve been wronged by the interim plan, instead of basing his assertion on projected numbers.

Gordon said after the hearing he’s prepared to do that, if somone wants to file suit.

“They have to have a $350 filing fee, but we will come back until this is a lottery system, until it’s open, until these kids are not subjected to a poor eduation outcome because of their race,” Gordon said.

JCPS attorney Byron Leet argued that the interim policy is constitutional. He says it does not use race as a sole factor in placing students, but rather a requirement that they be drawn from areas with high minority populations.

The interim plan applies only to students attending new schools. The school board is in the process of formulating a permanent student assignment plan.

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