JCPS Board Expected to Hear Student Assignment Recommendations

by Devin Katayama on September 12, 2011

The long-awaited California expert on student assignment is giving his recommendations to the Jefferson County School Board on Monday night, and neither the public nor the board knows what he might say.

Dr. Gary Orfield is a professor at UCLA and was previously contracted by JCPS before to give recommendations on student assignment. Student assignment has been a controversial topic in Jefferson County for years and Superintendent Donna Hargens has remained quiet on the issue since taking her position this year. She now waits, with the rest of the district, for Orfield’s recommendations.

“His recommendations will be received,” said Steve Imhoff, chair of the Jefferson County School Board. “We’re not voting on anything. We will then have meetings in the community, sessions in the community, get feedback from people in the community sometime in the next two or three weeks after that,” he said.

The board has delayed implementation of middle and high school assignment plans because of concerns about transportation and other issues. This visit is also weighted with JCPS’s recent appearance in the state’s Court of Appeals, where its student assignment plan was questioned.

Imhoff said JCPS cannot predict any timeframe for actions taken by the board regarding Orfield’s recommendations.

“What will drive the entire time frame is what he tells us on Monday. It may be if we make changes we can do them the following year it may that we won’t be able to because of any changes we may make but right now we don’t know what is even suggested,” he said.

It may still be a couple months until the board makes any decisions, said Imhoff. He expects JCPS to hear public comment on the recommendations in the weeks that follow, he said.

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