JCPS Hears Final Scheduled Student Assignment Presentation Tonight

by Devin Katayama on November 21, 2011

The Jefferson County Board of Education will meet with the district’s student assignment staff in a special session before Monday’s board meeting.

The district is still trying to determine how the new plan suggested by UCLA professor Gary Orfield will affect diversity throughout the district. If the district wants to implement a new plan for the 2012-2013 school year, it’ll need to decide on changes in next month’s school board meeting, said Jack Jacobs who is leading the JCPS student assignment presentations.

But it’s premature to predict how the board will vote on any changes even after the previous meeting where board members expressed concern about creating a solid plan so quickly, said Steve Imhoff, JCPS board chair.

“From the last meeting I had the sense that most of the board would rather wait and get as much information as we can and make a deliberate decision sometime in the spring for the following year but whether that changes, we’ll find out more about that Monday night,” Imhoff said.

Several board members and JCPS staff addressed the short time frame the district has had to create a new student assignment plan since Orfield presented his recommendations in September. Orfield’s proposal reinvented a new diversity index, but he wasn’t able to plug in data specific to the district’s schools. JCPS staff have been working to fill in the missing pieces, which may cause the district to leave behind several parts of Orfield’s recommendations.

“Jack is bringing us a new proposal Monday, so we won’t be ready for a vote (Monday night).  We are moving far from the clusters Orfield originally suggested.  His just did not work.  Maybe this Monday will be better than what we have seen,” wrote board member Linda Duncan in an email to WFPL.

The board expects to see a new student assignment plan in December. It may postpone voting on any changes until the spring, which would delay implementation of a new plan until the 2013-2014 school year.

The district is also waiting on a response from the Kentucky Supreme Court on whether it will hear its case arguing a Court of Appeals’ decision earlier this year against its current student assignment plan. Some board members say this is reason alone to postpone any decisions about changing student assignment in order to prevent further changes it may have to make.

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