Kentucky Supreme Court Hears JCPS Student Assignment Arguments

by Devin Katayama on April 16, 2012

The Kentucky Supreme Court will hear arguments this Wednesday in Frankfort on a case that could force Jefferson County Public Schools to change its student assignment plan.

An appellate court ruled against JCPS last year, saying Kentucky students have the right to attend the same school where they enroll, or their neighborhood school. But JCPS argues state statute allows the district to transport students to meet certain diversity goals.

If the high court upholds the previous court’s ruling, JCPS may have to redesign its student assignment plan, which the district has already done once this year.

Attorney Byron Leet, who represents the Jefferson County Board of Education, said he has not had any discussions with JCPS officials as to what the district plans to do if the court rules against the district again.

“I think there are still issues yet to be pursued in the event that the Supreme Court agreed with the Court of Appeals, but frankly that’s not something I’m focused on,” said Leet.

Plaintiff attorney Teddy Gordon (pictured with parent Chris Fell, one of the plaintiffs in the case) said the district could request that the U.S. Supreme Court hear the case, but it’s not likely Leet and JCPS would have a case.

“There’s not really a constitutional argument. So if he wants to try to make a constitutional argument I sure hope the Supreme Court of the United States takes it because I would file a motion to hold them in contempt and hold Jefferson County Public Schools in contempt,” said Gordon.

The state Supreme Court is likely the last stop for either side before the matter is put to rest, he said.

If the court sides with JCPS, Gordon said he would file a final request to reconsider.

Both attorneys expect a decision later this year.

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