Mr. Gimmel, thank you for taking the time to respond so expediently.
When I use the word unprecedented, I am referring to the fact that the KDE has never taken over the largest school district in the Commonwealth, nor one anywhere near the size, scope, nor scale of Jefferson County. When it has taken over districts, most recently Menifee, Floyd & Breathitt, they were small rural districts with a student population a small fraction of the size of Jefferson. And in those cases, the well substantiated reasons included hiring malpractice, gross leadership malfeasance, and/or criminal activity on the part of the Superintendent and/or the school board.
In the case of JCPS, this is a newly elected board with a newly hired Superintendent. They have not been given adequate time to consume the audit, nor to affect the change that they have already identified is necessary and continue the great work they have already begun, yet their power to do so is now at risk.
Parental influence will ALWAYS be diminished, when the folks they elected, that are accountable to them, their tax dollars, their vote and their voice, are removed by Kentucky Board of Education members from across the State, from districts nothing like JCPS, that are appointed by a Governor, not by the voice, nor vote of local parents, nor tax payers.
At the end of the day, their vote is their voice. Should you enact a state takeover of JCPS, you will be taking that away from tens of thousands of parents (90% of whom are satisfied with their schools!) and hundreds of thousands of local tax payers, whose local tax dollars fund almost 70% of district operations.
Similarly, a state takeover of a very small rural district would never cast a dark shadow over the entire Commonwealth, as this would. The unfair assumptions that are already made about Kentucky schools and our State, will simply become worse for the rest of us, vying for economic development opportunities.
I am a Realtor. I see the impact of public school quality assumptions, sometimes fairly and sometimes not, and real estate purchasing decisions every.single.day. Imagine the largest city of Kentucky being portrayed nationally as having a school system that is failing at a level that a state takeover is necessary! Who would want to move to Louisville?! How will this not set off an unnecessary economic downward spiral for the entire region, when what is truly needed is concentrated resources, support, and attention to a particular subset of schools?
Again, JCPS has concerns that need to be addressed expediently! NO ONE in the public education community in JCPS, nor anywhere else in Kentucky, is advocating for the status quo! We are all rooting for the new JCPS school board and Marty Pollio as they continue this sacred work for our kids.
Our schools are not failing, our society is failing, and showing up in our schools. When we realize this, we can begin to truly support the trans-formative work for the kids who needs us most.
But ultimately, it is the precedent that this sets in this Commonwealth, of what appears to be at best, a hastily considered decision to revoke local control, and at worst appears to be an orchestrated abuse of Gubernatorial power that literally scares me the most as a public school parent and SBDM member. I hope I am completely wrong, as I need to be able to trust that we have governmental regulations, open meetings laws, and statutes that are respected by those entrusted to follow them in their acts of governance.
It is my hope that the time you dedicate to this critical decision making process is considerably elongated from what I witnessed when you removed Commissioner Pruitt. If this is not the case, and it was simply a foreshadowing of your approach to state takeover decision making that is to come, dark times are ahead for public school children and parents in this Commonwealth.
From: Rich F. Gimmel <email@example.com>
Sent: Friday, May 4, 2018 2:27:10 PM
To: Lucy Waterbury
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: RE: Opposition to State Takeover of JCPS
Thank you for your thoughts on this important matter. And I’m glad to see your involvement as an SBDM parent. My wife was on the very first SBDM at Highland Middle School in the 1990s.
One correction: a move toward state management would not be unprecedented. It’s happened several times in the past in Kentucky. In fact, state law mandates that the Kentucky Board of Education is ultimately accountable for the performance of all 173 school districts in the state. When there are persistent problems, underperformance, or irregularities in a district we are obliged to intervene. Whatever the board decides, I can assure you that parental influence will not be diminished.
I intend to listen to all sides, and review the information they submit, before making up my mind on this critical issue. And I appreciate your views.
Rich Gimmel, Vice Chair
Kentucky Board of Education
From: Lucy Waterbury
Sent: Friday, May 04, 2018 12:11 PM
To: Lucy Waterbury
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; Rich F. Gimmel <firstname.lastname@example.org>; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Opposition to State Takeover of JCPS
Dear Kentucky Board of Education,
As a public school parent, School Based Decision Making Council Parent Representative, a former PTA President, a 16th District PTA Board Member, and Parent Advocacy Trainer in Fayette County Public Schools, I implore you to NOT takeover the Jefferson County Public School System.
Quite simply, this is an unprecedented attack on Democracy and local control, including the destruction of parent voice and power in JCPS. This is not to say that this is a vote for status quo, but to allow Marty Pollio to continue the good work he is doing within the district.
Please allow the recently elected board members and the newly hired Superintendent to keep the momentum of improvement that is currently happening! Please allow local constituents to retain control over their tax dollars and school governance, through KDE State Assistance and support, NOT through an unnecessary and politically driven takeover of local control!