Republican candidate for mayor Hal Heiner Thursday discussed his plans for improving Jefferson County Public Schools, and announced his latest endorsement.

Heiner recently called for an end to the current student assignment plan in a television ad. The spot drew criticism from Democratic candidate Greg Fischer, among others. Heiner says he still supports diversity, but the assignment plan has not improved schools. He said scrapping the plan is only part of his education platform, which calls for more magnet schools and incentives for teachers at underperforming schools.

“What we need is a comprehensive re-look at how we go about education in this community, determine what resources are necessary to get there, then get about the business of improving these schools. We really have no time to waste in that regard,” said Heiner.

Former Democratic mayoral candidate Lisa Moxley announced her support for Heiner at the press conference. The mayor has no direct authority over JCPS, but Moxley said the mayor should lead efforts to improve schools.

“I think it’s absolutely appropriate for the mayor to take a leadership role for issues that impact the city and this is an issue that impacts the city. It impacts the families and the communities and the people who live here,” she said.

Fischer has proposed using public-private partnerships and after-school programs to improve education.

Update:

Here is the raw audio of the announcement. (MP3)

And here is Fischer’s response:

“Like many people in Louisville, I am frustrated with the lack of significant improvement in our schools. The student assignment plan and our school system are not working the way we expect and demand they must.

“The school board must fix the student assignment plan, and they are taking steps to do so, and as mayor I will be an active partner to make sure we get it right.

“I will do everything in my power to raise both the standards and expectations we have of our schools. A great city deserves great schools, and right now we are letting some of our parents and children down. High quality schools are the key to our city’s economic future and, as mayor, I will be there to make certain we get this right.”

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