JCPS Board Expects Student Assignment Vote Monday

by Devin Katayama on January 9, 2012

The Jefferson County Board of Education is expected to vote on changes to its student assignment plan Monday night. If the changes are approved, they will affect an estimated 2,000 kindergarten students next school year.

The board postponed the vote last month, but JCPS staff said it must act in time for the elementary school showcase at the end of this month.

“I cannot speak on behalf of the board. I just have a sense that it looks like the recommendations will be approved, but I have no guarantee,” said board chair Steve Imhoff.

Other board members have previously said they would like to see some changes to the plan to help reduce bus times.

The board considered several options since hearing recommendations from UCLA professor Gary Orfield in September. Some plans included a complete renovation including creating 13 smaller clusters instead of the current six the district uses to transport students for diversity.

The newest proposal presented to the board last month keeps six clusters and continues using race, income and educational attainment to define district diversity, but uses a new diversity measurement provided by Orfield that recognizes small pockets of diversity that already exist in the district.

It would also include English as a Second Language students in the diversity count. Under the new plan, parents of kindergarten students only would pick a school where their child would remain until fifth grade.

Some board members have also expressed concern that major changes to the plan might have to be reassessed when the Kentucky Supreme Court weighs in on the student assignment plan in spring.

If the board approves of the changes on Monday night, the district expects to alert parents of which schools their children are able to attend in time for the elementary showcase on Jan 28.

“Staff has been working very hard on this for months and I’m sure everyday they’ve been working on the showcase coming up. And I’m sure the staff will be ready and the principals and teachers will be aware of what’s going on,” said Imhoff.

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