It may be that Republican mayoral candidate Hal Heiner‘s ad calling for an end to the JCPS student assignment plan has been played in the news more than it’s aired in commercial blocks.

On Thursday, the Interdenominational Ministerial Coalition called on Heiner to end the spot.

From WFPL:

IMC President Reverend Frank M. Smith Jr. says Heiner’s plan would re-segregate the schools. He adds that the assignment plan should stay in place, and any problems with it should be addressed by the school board.

“We support our school board in moving forward,” he says. “A lot of tax dollars have already been expended behind the plan and implementation of the plan and we just think some simple tweaking can get the situation improved.”

Here is the full audio of the IMC press conference (mp3), featuring questions from Wave 3’s Jon Chrisos and LEO’s Phillip Bailey.

WLKY reported on the spot when it debuted earlier this week. Here are clips from that story:

On Wednesday, Heiner’s Democratic opponent, Greg Fischer, and JCPS Superintendent Sheldon Berman sharply criticized the ad.

Heiner said he’s already received an overwhelmingly positive reaction to the campaign.

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In response, Berman said, “We’re disappointed that the campaign has chosen to politicize our public school children. …The ad distorts and misrepresents the issues facing the school district.”

That comment was echoed by Fischer.

“One, he’s using our kids as pawns six weeks before an election, and two, the result of his plan is the segregation of our schools here in the community,” Fischer said.

Fischer said that, as mayor, he’d create public-private partnerships to move the school system forward. That proposal is similar to one championed by Heiner.

Here is the response from Heiner’s campaign to the IMC’s announcement:

Hal Heiner rejects the idea that we cannot have a discussion on education in this community.  This community has gone too long without taking a fresh look at education, and it is time to ask ourselves if this is acceptable.  Is it acceptable to have a dropout rate that is double the state average?  Is it acceptable to have 6 failing schools and to have our children riding buses for 3 hours a day?  Something has to change, and Hal Heiner is unapologetic for standing up for parents and children across this community.

Many stories on the topic also point out that the mayor has no power over the schools. Both Heiner and Fischer say they will work closely with the school board and superintendent to influence education.

And another note, independent candidate Jackie Green also favors ending the assignment plan. But, he has proposed spreading affordable housing across the city to make neighborhoods (and therefore neighborhood schools) more diverse.

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