Less than two weeks after a Jefferson County Circuit Judge ruled that the student assignment plan used by Jefferson County Public
Schools is not in violation of state law, the Kentucky Senate President is advocating an amendment to state law aimed at forcing JCPS to change the plan.
The bill was pre-filed on Wednesday, and relates to a state law that states that students in merged school districts have the right to enroll in the school nearest their home. Prior to 1990, the law included the words, "for attendance." JCPS lawyers succesfully argued that a consequence of the removal of those words is that students merely have the right to apply for admission to schools nearest their home, with no guarantee of actual attendance.
Speaking on WHAS Radio's Mandy Connell show Wednesday, Senate President David Williams (R-Burkesville) said the amendment is in response to the August 13 ruling by Judge Irv Maze, and restores the words "for attendance," so the law would clearly apply to Jefferson County.
Maze ruled that when the General Assembly removed the words "for attendance" from the bill, "clearly, the legislature intended for the word 'enroll' to operate, in its plain meaning, only as registration of the child for school."
Maze's opinion said that the General Assembly had "the intent to clarify the right to register or enroll the child at the school nearest to his or her residence only. As a matter of law that 'enroll' as used in KRS 159.070 does not mean 'attendance' and the two words are not interchangeable."
Within the appropriate school district attendance area, parents or legal guardians shall be permitted to enroll for attendance their children in the public school nearest their home, except in cases in which the school nearest their home has academic or skill prerequisites for attending the school.
WHAS11's Melanie Kahn is reporting on this developing story.