The residents of Jefferson County will go to the polls this November to replace three retiring school board members. According to the Courier-Journal, this election will be the first time in at least three decades that new board members will be elected.
The three retiring board members are, Steve Imhoff in District 2, Larry Hujo in District 7 and Joe Hardesty in District 4. While the other four board members are up for re-election.
So far, 15 candidates have filed for the open positions making it a historic election for the residents of Jefferson County. “The school board election is very critical to the Jefferson County Public School System. The election has the potential to change the direction of the school board and its policies,” said Dr. Dewey Clayton, a Political Science Professor at the University of Louisville.
Explaining the issues that could be at stake this election, Dr. Clayton said, “The school assignment plan and busing system will be an issue. The tax rate and the recent property tax increase may be an issue. Graduation rates will be an issue. Diversity and parental involvement will be an issue that is at stake as well.”
While majority of the candidates will be new to the voters, Mydrin Thompson, a parent and Regional Director (Central States) for the National Family Engagement Alliance, believes that it’s important for voters to do some homework before this November.
“Voters will really have to listen to and educate themselves about people with whom they›ve had no previous relationship or context,” said Thompson.
Next year, when the board starts with 3 new faces, it will be up to them to decide on important issues, such as the busing system, “I certainly hope new and current school board members will respectfully weigh all concerns, but as a community we must be willing to understand that not everyone›s concerns will be met, and some will be dissatisfied by the outcomes,” Thompson said.
On the other hand the JCPS board faces challenges from the community about the controversial student assignment plan, in which the communities are equally divided. The Kentucky Supreme Court decides on the issues on September, “depending on how the courts rule on the current plan, if they rule at all, will have an impact on how the school board approaches the issue,” said Dr. Clayton.
JCPS is the 27th largest school district in the United States, while they are around 100,000 students, 13,000 employees and 155 schools in the district.