Members of several civil rights groups gathered at the Carl Braden Memorial Center in Louisville Sunday to voice opposition to the recommended state takeover of Jefferson County Public Schools.

Kentucky Alliance Against Racial and Political Repression Chair Barbara Boyd said a state takeover would do more harm than good. She suggests that the state help parents and people close to JCPS fix deficiencies instead.

“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,” Boyd said. “We don’t need members appointed by Governor Bevin to do his bidding of our school district.”

A state takeover of the school system was proposed after an audit found challenges to the system’s organization and culture. Kentucky Interim Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis recommended the takeover in the audit, saying it would be costly but good for JCPS.

At the Braden Center on West Broadway Sunday, civil rights activist Mattie Jones disagreed. Jones said a takeover would rob JCPS parents, especially black parents, of a voice.

“My mission now is to help let our parents know exactly what is going on here – exactly what kind of voice they will have in educating their children,” Jones said. “We talk about our children being our future, then we’ve got to put our feet and hands in it and use that old proverb of our African brothers and sisters: ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’”

JCPS is appealing the takeover recommendation. A Kentucky Board of Education hearing on the appeal begins in September.