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The bill that would dismantle Jefferson County Public Schools’ student assignment plan has passed the state Senate. But Superintendent Sheldon Berman doesn’t think it will clear the House.

The Jefferson County Board of Education has voted 5-2 to not renew superintendent Sheldon Berman‘s contract.

Board members Linda Duncan and Steve Imhoff were the two votes in favor.

WFPL will have more on this story as it develops.

As Rick Howlett reported on WFPL today, “Louisville attorney Ted Gordon was back in court Monday, filing a motion that asks a judge to reopen Gordon’s suit challenging Jefferson County Public Schools student assignment plan.”

You can read the story here.

Superintendent Sheldon Berman and Mayor Jerry Abramson made a joint appearance today (along with Congressman John Yarmuth) and afterward, they talked about the suit and the neighborhood schools legislation.

Berman and Gordon are quoted in the WFPL story. Here is what the mayor had to say:

(That’s WHAS-11’s Joe Arnold asking some of the questions)

This is a cross post with WFPL.

Two Jefferson County Public Schools principals have been suspended following transportation problems on the first day of classes Tuesday. District officials say the principals at King and Lincoln elementary did not properly prepare tags for their students.

This is the first year for the tags, which display bus numbers and school names and were to be given to all bus-riding elementary students. But Superintendent Sheldon Berman says tags were either incorrect or printed late for students at King and Lincoln. That caused confusion and delays. About 400 students arrived home hours after they were supposed to, and the last students were dropped off around 9 pm.

Tana Johnson’s daughter was among them.

“The concern is not even the timeframe, the concern is that nobody could give me information on where [my daughter] Brandy was, as far as I know,” says Johnson. “She’s a kindergartener, she could’ve gotten off the bus at the wrong place, been standing on the corner. It’s all the ‘What-ifs’ that provide the issue.”

Berman says the problems should not be blamed on the student assignment plan.

“King and Lincoln are district-wide magnet schools,” he says. “Once you have magnet schools you open up a whole different transportation system. So we’re not talking about student assignment at all. This is not a student assignment issue.”

The principals of King and Lincoln have been suspended with pay pending investigation.

“We have tried to do as much as we can to prepare principals well and to say, ‘This is critical,'” says Berman. “I actually met with them at the start of school and basically said, ‘Thank you for all your effort. This is the most critical first day we have had.”

District staff members have been brought in to address the problems. Chancey Elementary also experienced some problems, but Berman says the principal corrected them.

The full press conference with Superintendent Sheldon Berman:

A story in the Courier-Journal this weekend outlines how the Jefferson County Board of Education can hold a closed-door meeting to begin superintendent Sheldon Berman‘s evaluation.

The board held a closed-door meeting last year, but was found in violation of state law. The General Assembly passed a law this year allowing closed preliminary evaluations after July 15th. Berman’s evaluation was held in June in previous years, but will be held under the new law this year.

Board chairwoman Debbie Wesslund said the board had initially planned to evaluate Berman, who is now in the final year of his four-year contract, in June, but “the timing became problematic.”

“We spent most of May and June dealing with the leadership audits (at six of the district’s struggling schools) that required us to do some major restructuring that required a lot of time and work,” she said. “We also had a board member out of the country for two weeks in June.”

But Jon Fleischaker, an attorney for The Courier-Journal, said the board is shutting out the public from an evaluation that “should be done in public.”

“It appears clear that at least one of the reasons why the Jefferson County school board waited to evaluate (Berman) is because they wanted to do it in private,” he said.

State Senator David Givens (R-Greensburg) sponsored the closed-door bill and says it allows boards to have more candid interviews with superintendents. The board agrees:

“We fought for that law, and we agree with it,” [Wesslund] said. “We think that having a closed session allows us to be more thorough and deliberative and to have frank discussions. It doesn’t matter what we say or think individually, it matters what we say or think as a board.”

However, the paper points out that some information is lost in such meetings.

Last year, the Jefferson County school board issued a four-page evaluation that largely complimented Berman, while encouraging him to improve his interaction with the board, community organizations and parents.

But an affidavit filed as part of the school board’ appeal noted that during the closed portion of Berman’s evaluation, board member Larry Hujo inquired about “issuing a reprimand and/or terminating” Berman’s contract.

Hujo said in an interview that he had been upset about Berman’s handling of an incident involving a teacher, but that other board members persuaded him not to pursue punitive measures against Berman.

Here’s what we reported on today:

Here’s what we reported on today:

A report from Jefferson County Public Schools concludes that PRP football coach Jason Stinson did not violate any rules or deny his players water during a practice last August in which a player collapsed and later died.

The report says 15-year-old Max Gilpin may have been ill before practice and that condition could have contributed to his death. While the report clears Stinson of any rules violations, it does say that the coach told his players at the practice that they would run until someone quit the team. The school system will soon ban such language under its ethics code.

“While that kind of negative motivation may be used in some amateur and even professional sports, that kind of culture has no place in JCPS’s athletic program,” says Superintendent Sheldon Berman.

Stinson and other school employees are being sued by Gilpin’s parents and Stinson is awaiting an August 31st trial on a reckless homicide charge. Berman declined to comment on what impact the school district report will have on those proceedings.

“I don’t know where the other cases will go, but in fact we believe there is substantial evidence—I believe there is substantial evidence—to support our case and to support the argument that’s made here and the conclusions that are drawn here,” he says.

Stinson is currently on administrative leave from the school system.

The office of prosecutor Dave Stengel declined to comment on the report.

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