Senate Bill 250 passes during JCPS’s second sick-out

Teachers+in+the+rotunda+crowd+together+to+sing+and+chant+against+House+and+Senate+Bills.+Photo+by+Emma+%22E.P.%22+Presnell

Teachers in the rotunda crowd together to sing and chant against House and Senate Bills. Photo by Emma “E.P.” Presnell

EP Presnell

Senate Bill 250 (SB 250) passed the House Committee and is moving to the floor despite another sick-out that caused Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) to close school March 6.

SB 250 would allow the JCPS superintendent to potentially override principal hiring decisions made by school-based decision making councils, also known as a school’s SBDM, enter contracts as high as $20,000 without the school board’s approval and demote administrative staff.

Supporters of the bill say this is a crucial step in getting JCPS to head in the right direction after the state take over threat last August.

“Senate Bill 250 is a small step, but I think it’s a critical step in the right direction,” Senate Majority Caucus Chair Julie Adams said.

Those opposed are worried the bill could fall into unfit hands when it comes to the future of JCPS and its superintendents as well as the movement of the bill to other counties in Kentucky despite SB 250 only pertaining to Jefferson County.

“I’m a big fan of Dr. Polio…but at the end of the day, Dr. Pollio could leave tomorrow,” Keeland Garland, the principal of Hebron Middle School in Shepherdsville who spoke in opposition of the bill said. “He could run for some political office, he’s well liked, I admire him and think he’s doing a great job.”

In addition to Garland’s concerns, those in opposition of the bill are worried superintendents won’t be able to make the best decisions for schools because they don’t know the problems the schools are facing and who could best help those problems.

“The only people who know what we need in our schools is us [the students],” said Caitlyn Druck, a junior at Pleasure Ridge Park (PRP) High School.

Those in opposition also say this will take away the SBDM process, though the bill says nothing about removing it from the principal decision-making process.

Superintendent Marty Polio is both in favor of SBDM councils but believes superintendents need “more influence and even selection power over principals at school” as he told WDRB.

Despite SB 250 passage, teachers still went to the capitol to protest in the rotunda by singing, chanting and holding up signs to show their presence and ensure they won’t back down from this fight.

“Every single voice in this building counts. Even if you don’t make it into the room where everything is being decided on, even if you don’t get to speak, every voice in here counts. We need everyone possible here,” Druck said.