March 1, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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Statement on House Bill 151 – An Act Relating to School Attendance
On February 23, the Kentucky House of Representatives passed House Bill 151 which would affect how local school districts set school attendance and assignment policies. The bill would prioritize those students nearest the schoolhouse for attendance, with some exceptions. This legislation would have a devastating impact for the entire public school system in Jefferson County and for that reason, the Louisville Urban League strongly opposes HB 151.
The population distribution in Jefferson County makes neighborhood schools impossible without significant investment in infrastructure, disregard for all progress toward racial equity and complete abandonment of the desire to advance student achievement. Not to mention that the child on Aiken Road may get into Stopher, but the child on Johnson Road possibly wouldn’t, thus negating the entire concept of a neighborhood school. Furthermore, we have no assurances that schools like Dunn, without a surrounding population to support it, would be willing to consider repurposing their facilities.
We do not believe that this legislation is well thought out. It also reeks of overreaching by elected officials who claim to be interested in less government interference. It is argued that this bill would save money on transportation, yet we have been provided no evidence of such.
Most would agree that our school system needs repair, but we need real solutions that don’t create a laundry list of unintended consequences, spoken or unspoken.