Education

Community members now have a chance to look at the corrective action plan agreed upon between Jefferson County Public Schools and the Kentucky Department of Education. The plan is posted as an information item for the board meeting next Tuesday.

The corrective action plan is part of the settlement between the district and state that avoided a potential state takeover of Kentucky’s largest school district. It follows a scathing audit issued by Interim Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis in April. In that audit, Lewis recommended state management of the district, which educates approximately 100,000 students and employs more than 6,000 teachers.

JCPS and the state agreed to finalize the corrective action plan by September 20.

“I feel like this settlement was the best way for us to move forward, and it gives us a framework to work together at a deeper level and [gives] us the opportunity to immediately begin to address the deficiencies that were identified in the audit,” Lewis said this week prior to the release of the plan.  

The settlement was approved in a 4-3 vote by the Jefferson County Board of Education in late August. The corrective action plan lists more than 300 actions and recommendations to improve the quality of education, school funding and safety of the district’s students.

The plan mandates that JCPS grant the Kentucky Department of Education more oversight into early childhood and career and technical education. Lewis’ audit cited the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which found emotional and physical abuse, as well as neglect, of children in the Headstart program.

The plan also requires JCPS to turn over better data on attendance and transcripts for technical education students and implement a system of professional development for school personnel around physical restraint and seclusion. JCPS must also take steps to better comply with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), including providing equitable transportation to students with disabilities.   

“Now that the final plan has been put together, we are eager to begin the implementation phase,” said JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio in a news release about the corrective action plan. “We are confident that we can implement the plan and correct the deficiencies as a district in the time allotted by the agreement.”

The Kentucky Department of Education will audit the district again in 2020.

Pollio will update the agency monthly on the district’s progress.

Items listed in the plan identify which JCPS employee is responsible for implementation of each action, the start and end dates of the actions and how often the actions will be reviewed.

The plan also recommended that the Jefferson County Board of Education consider finding additional revenue sources to address facility needs.

The district approved a property tax hike in late August — the first one in five years. One of the audit’s criticism included not exploring sources of revenue to improve district facilities.

Read the JCPS Final Corrective Action Plan here

Roxanne Scott covers education for WFPL News.