LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – It was the clear message from a number of parents Tuesday night saying they wanted Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens gone.
“Hey, hey, ho, ho, Donna Hargens has got to go,” they said.
Many outside of the VanHoose Education Center held signs that said “Hargens must go now!”
“We as parents – as stakeholders – we want better for the kids of this city,” Erin Korbylo, a parent said.
Protesters gave a number of reasons why they believed it was time for Dr. Hargens to step down--including an unprecedented state audit that could take control away from the district and give it to the state.
“We want local control. We don't want Frankfort telling us what to do and we need a superintendent who's going to stick up for that,” she said.
Lori Barry says she and her daughter moved out of JCPS schools years ago and recently moved back. She says in that time – she’s disappointed to see nothing has changed.
“I thought I was crazy. I thought I was the only that was fighting this fight and oh my God to see that other people are having the same fight I'm having,” she said. My child was in elementary school when I left. Same response – ‘Mommy, I go to school every day and get dumber and dumber. Why do I have to go here?' Left for four years, came back and I'm still fighting the school system trying to help my daughter.”
Dr. Hargens would not comment on camera but did sent a statement saying in part, "I am focused on making sure that I do whatever is in the best interest of students."
But board member Linda Duncan reassures parents that the board hears their calls.
“We're listening to them and we're in that process to do this the right way,” she said.
Duncan says they are in the middle of a process that began several weeks ago during their executive sessions but there has been no resolution at this point.
Dr. Hargens contract is nearly iron-clad. Until 2019, the only way for her to leave the job immediately would be to resign. Under state law, to remove her, the board would need to prove cause, and get approval by the state's education commissioner.
Duncan says that there is no timeline for this and that they're just making sure that they follow the process completely.