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Education Briefs

Kentucky School Advocate
November 2023

Appeals court rules law targeting JCPS unconstitutional
The Kentucky Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court’s decision that a law limiting the power of the Jefferson County school board is unconstitutional.

The unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel said that Senate Bill 1 of 2022 singled out the Jefferson County board, in violation of the state constitution’s ban on special and local legislation.

Under the law, Jefferson County would be required to turn over all daily operations, including contracts to the superintendent, would not be allowed to meet more than once a month and require a two-thirds vote of the board to disapprove a rule, regulation from the superintendent.

The Jefferson County board sued in Jefferson Circuit Court after the law was passed and Attorney General Daniel Cameron defended the law. Cameron argued that the board did not have standing to sue. Both the circuit court and the appeals court disagreed.

Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, filed an amicus brief in the case stating that the purpose behind the legislation was to address concerns that JCPS was “failing too many of its students, especially students of color and those living below the poverty level.”

Cameron has appealed the ruling to the state supreme court. The suit only challenged the law as related to JCPS and the other provisions of the law remain in effect.

Most school boards approve 4% tax rate
During the Oct. 10 Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) meeting, the tax rates set by school boards for the 2023-24 school year were reported.

At the time, 140 of 171 districts had reported their rates. Of the districts that had reported, 85 approved the rate that generates 4% more revenue than the prior year, 16 took the rate that would bring in the same amount of revenue and 39 took another rate.

The KBE voted to approve the rates.

Porter resigns from Jefferson Co. board

Citing ongoing health concerns, longtime Jefferson County Schools board member Diane Porter resigned on Oct. 24. Porter chaired the board since 2019 and led the panel from 2012 to 2018. She first joined the board in 2010.“I am particularly proud to have served as the first African-American woman to chair the school board in 2012, and it has been an honor to return to the leadership role over the years,” Porter wrote in her resignation letter. “This district holds a special place in my heart, and I am immensely proud of the progress we have made together. I have complete confidence in the continued dedication and commitment of the board to the betterment of our education system.”

Porter was an educator for more than 40 years, first applying her talents as a business teacher at Male High School in 1970. She held multiple positions at the district before retiring in 2009 and being appointed to the school board a year later.

“During her 40 years of service as a teacher, guidance counselor, assistant principal, principal, and central office administrator Ms. Porter always asked the same question she has asked before making each decision as a school board member - ‘Is this what’s in the best interests of our children?’ It is clear that Ms. Porter always prioritized the needs of our students above all else,” said Marty Pollio, Jefferson County superintendent.

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