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JCPS Hears Early Analysis of Proposed Student Assignment Plan

The Jefferson County Public Schools’ board is concerned it may be too early to discuss consultant and UCLA professor Dr. Gary Orfield’s student assignment plan recommendations with the public.

JCPS board members saw early research on Orfield’s recommendations Monday night. Board members were briefed by JCPS staff members working on various issues of the plan. The district is preparing to seek opinions from staff, principals and the public this week. But some board members said it may be premature to have discussions about student assignment, just two weeks after Orfield submitted his recommendations.

Board Chair Steve Imhoff said he was on the fence about going public this early.

“But I came back around. It’s good to hear what their (parents) comments are on the general concept. We’re looking at the general concept, we want to hear what parents think about the concept,” Imhoff said.

And despite concerns, the board decided the benefits outweighed the costs. Discussions touched upon how involved the public should be this early in the process. Some board members expressed concern that it would be difficult to convey any proposed ideas without confusing the public. But ultimately, having public discussions early in the process will allow parents to learn about the options and ask questions, even though the answers may change during the process, said Imhoff.

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Student Assignment Survey Results Unveiled

A school integration expert hired by the Jefferson County Board of Education to review the system’s student assignment plan unveiled the results of a survey of JCPS parents and students Thursday.

UCLA professor Dr. Gary Orfield says a survey of more than 1,000 parents found that 69-percent of them were satisfied with their child’s school assignment and 87-percent were satisfied with the quality of their child’s education.

“I think that there’s been a perception spread around the community and the state legislature that there’s a tremendous amount of discontent with the plan in the city, and I think our survey says that’s not true among the parents and among the students,” he said.

Orfield’s survey found less satisfaction, 54-percent, regarding how well the new student assignment plan has been implemented, with particular concerns about long bus rides for some students. He says his team will study the problem and make recommendations to the board.