Education

The Kentucky Department of Education says it remains open to a settlement of the recommended state management of Jefferson County Public Schools, and is giving the district more time to respond.

According to a statement from JCPS, district leaders have held discussions with the KDE and Interim Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis about the proposal, and Lewis asked that JCPS have a response to them by next week.

“The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) has expressed an interest in settling this case. District leadership spoke with KDE and Interim Commissioner Lewis, and Dr. Lewis asked that we have a response to them by next week,” JCPS spokeswoman Allison Martin said in a statement.

Lewis offered JCPS a settlement to avoid state takeover of the district. He proposed what he termed “enhanced oversight” of JCPS. The original deadline for the district to respond was Wednesday, Aug. 1.

During a back-to-school event Tuesday, Superintendent Marty Pollio gave few details about a decision from JCPS on the settlement offer, but he did say the Aug. 1 deadline was “a very quick deadline.”

A recommended state takeover was handed down by Lewis in April. Walk-ins and other demonstrations have occurred since to oppose a state takeover.  Over the weekend, several civil rights groups convened at the Carl Braden Memorial Center to oppose state management of the district.

“We’re not saying that we don’t have issues, because we know we do. But we need to be able to clean our own house,” said Kentucky Alliance Against Racial and Political Repression chair Barbara Boyd at the event. “We don’t need members appointed by Gov. Bevin to do his bidding of our school district.”

Findings from an audit released in April showed the district inadequately manages instruction of students, doesn’t adequately use its bonding authority to fund facility projects, underreports instances of restraint and seclusion, and placed non-certified instructors in positions that required certification.

The JCPS board voted to appeal the recommendation. Hearings are set to begin in September.

Roxanne Scott covers education for WFPL News.