Attorney Confident State Supreme Court Will Uphold JCPS Student Assignment Decision

by Devin Katayama on October 3, 2011

Attorney Teddy Gordon (pictured right) says his chances are excellent if the Kentucky Supreme Court decides to hear an appeal on the opinion changing the Jefferson County Public Schools’ student assignment plan.

Last week the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled that students should be able to attend the same school where they enroll, which is the school nearest their home. JCPS is expected to delay implementation, which must begin in the 2012-2013 school year, by appealing to the State Supreme Court. But one parent isn’t waiting to push for change. Lead plaintiff and JCPS parent Chris Fell (pictured left) said he plans on running for the JCPS school board.

“I will be casting my hat into that ring. I’m going to wait until after the Governor elections. But to answer the question, yes I will be running for Larry Hujo’s seat for 2012. I’m a parent who wants to make a difference,” he said.

Fell’s daughter currently attends her neighborhood school, but Fell said that someone needs to be the voice of those students who aren’t lucky enough to go to the school nearest their home.

Fell may have an uphill battle. Jefferson County Teacher’s Association (JCTA)  has funds to support candidates and without its support it could be difficult to win a seat on the board, said Gordon.

JCTA supports integration and diversity and it would be difficult for the union to back a neighborhood school candidate who has brought suit against JCPS, wrote JCTA President Brent McKim in an e-mail.

The State Supreme Court would make the final decision for this case, said Gordon who sees no Constitutional issues that could take it further. The State Supreme Court would re-hear all arguments before making a decision.

But Gordon contends the Court of Appeals’ ruling proves JCPS has violated state law. He adds that the recent recommendations for a new student assignment plan by UCLA professor Dr. Gary Orfield continue to ignore the law.

“They fall well short. Be mindful with all the failing schools, with a 67 percent rate that fails, that are not college bound, Jefferson County Public Schools still plays God. They still design the student population of those schools that are failing,” said Gordon.

JCPS said in a written statement last week that it’s disappointed with the court’s decision and it fully intends on appealing to the State Supreme Court.

The State Supreme Court would first have to decide if it wants to hear the case.

Click here to see the Court of Appeals’ opinion.

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