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Student Assignment Suit Dropped

The plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit against Jefferson County Public Schools over the district’s new student assignment plan have dropped their suit.

Their attorney, Ted Gordon, says the parents have had their complaints with JCPS resolved or have opted to home school their children.

A handful of  parents of kindergarten students claimed the children were assigned to their schools based solely on race.  Gordon  says it’s possible he could bring additional cases to the court if other parents come to him with complaints.

The  U.S.  Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the previous JCPS assignment plan was unconstitutional because it relied to heavily on race.

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JCPS Board To Consider Assignment Plan Changes

The Jefferson County Board of Education will consider proposed revisions to the district’s student assignment plan when the panel meets this evening.

Superintendent Sheldon Berman wants to delay the implementation of most of the new assignmment plan for middle and high schools by one year, until 2011-2012.

Berman says he wants the postponement to deal with transportation problems that have plagued the new assignment plan for elementary schools which began this year. It has resulted in lengthy bus trips for some students each day.

He also wants to make some transportation changes to the elementary plan, including a 75 minute cap on the time any youngster spends on a bus.

The board will meet at 7:00 this evening. The board normally meets on Mondays but yesterday’s meeting was postponed because of the Yom Kippur holiday.

The school system was required to formulate new assignment plans following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2007.

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Judge Denies Injunction Request in Student Assignment Case

A federal judge has denied a request for injunction against the Jefferson County Public Schools assignment plan for elementary school students. U.S. District Judge John Heyburn says the school district did not act unconstitutionally in its method of assigning kindergartners to schools.

JCPS Attorney Byron Leets says the judge’s comments bode well for the lawsuit against the assignment plan that has yet to be argued.

“It is very promising going forward that the judge obviously appreciates the significance of Justice Kennedy’s opinion in the Supreme Court so we feel very good about that going forward in the case, defending the case,” says Leets.

The attorney for the plaintiffs, Teddy Gordon, says he’ll continue to pursue the lawsuit against the school district’s elementary assignment plan. He had argued some students were assigned to their school based on race,  but the court today disagreed.

“We need to review the census tracts,” says Gordon, “there is absolutely zero doubt in my mind that this is a substitute for race or a proxy for race.”

The US Supreme Court ruled in Meredith vs. the Jefferson County Board of Education that making student assignments based solely on race is unconstitutional.

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Opponents to Elementary School Assignment Plan Speak Out

A request for injunction was filed today in the most recent court action against the Jefferson County Public School district and its student assignment plan. Attorney Teddy Gordon is asking the court to require JCPS to re-do student assignments at Stopher Elementary. Two of his clients sought entrance into Stopher for their kindergarten-aged children, and were instead assigned to schools more than twenty miles away. Gordon says that decision was improperly based on their race.

Plaintiff Sukh Bains says his daughter, Saanjh, was denied entrance to their neighborhood school, Stopher Elementary. She was assigned to Shelby Elementary, which is about 24 miles away from where they live.

“This was really out of left field for us,” says Bains. “We just don’t understand why they denied hardship transfers, and especially for the reason they’re giving, as far as diversity. That was the main thing, I just couldn’t understand how that factored in when our child is also of a minority. If it’s race-based, then I really don’t get the concept.”

Their attorney, Teddy Gordon, filed an injunction today, asking the courts to require the school district to re-do assignments at Stopher. School starts in two weeks, and Gordon says that’s plenty of time to re-do the assignments.

“All you have to do is push the magic button on the computer and say these students that were chosen and are being bused to Stopher from Shelby, they go to Shelby, and those students that are being bused from the Stopher area to the Shelby area, they’re going to Stopher. It’s quite easy,” says Gordon.

JCPS officials declined comment on the case today, saying they hadn’t had time to review the filing.

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Assignment Plans Complicate Bus Routes for JCPS

Transportation officials with Jefferson County Public Schools have made some changes to the district’s bus routes.

JCPS Transportation Director Rick Caple says the district faces a challenge this year because the new student assignment plan for elementary school students goes into effect. Students entering elementary school will be under the new plan, but existing elementary students can opt to stay under the old plan.

Caple says this presents a logistics challenge for bus routes, and some bus stops have changed as a result.

“Parents may object to some of our bus stops,” says Caple. “We’re going to ask parents to walk a little farther to the bus stops. Not as many house stops, more corner stops this year.”

The JCPS Bus Route Finder was posted on-line over the weekend. The first day of school is August 13th.

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JCPS Assignment Plan Unveiled

A series of community meetings will be held early next year on the new assignment plan for middle and high school students in Jefferson County Public Schools.

JCPS Director of Student Assignment Pat Todd says the plan, similar to the one approved for elementary students this year, was formally presented to the board of education Monday.

“It is the most preliminary step in informing the board about our thinking to date,” Todd said.

Last year that U.S. Supreme Court ruled declared the school system’s previous student assignment plan unconstitutional because it relied solely on race.

Todd says it’s hoped the board will approve the middle and high school plan in March. It would be implemented in the 2010-2011 school year.

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JCPS Classes Resume

Jefferson County Public Schools officials say Tuesday’s start of the school year has been relatively smooth for the system’s students, faculty and staff.

Nearly 100,000 youngsters are enrolled for the new academic year.

A new student assignment plan for elementary school students approved by the
school board in May won’t go into effect until the 2009-2010 academic
year, but JCPS Superintendent Sheldon Berman says it shouldn’t cause a
major disruption.

“We will actually have probably two sets of bus routes next year, because we’ll
be grandfathering a number of students in. But i think the changes will be subtle,
and they will not be as evident, or stark as people may gather. I think we’ll see
an evolution over time,” Berman said.

Officials are now working on new plans for middle and high schools.

A change in the JCPS student assignment plan for all students was mandated
in a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year.