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Thursday, September 20, 2012


COURT: Ky students have no statutory "right" to attend neighborhood schools

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled that Kentucky public school students have no statutory right to attend a particular school.

The ruling goes on to say that, "student assignment within a school district in Kentucky is a matter that the legislature has committed to the sound discretion of the local school board."

The decision comes as a serious blow to proponents of so-called "neighborhood schools."

Ted Gordon, the attorney for the plaintiffs' in the case, released the following statement after the ruling:

"While we will always respect the decision by the majority of the justices at the Kentucky Supreme Court, we have to wonder at the obvious attempts by JCPS to influence this decision by JCPS ever-changing student assignment plans," Gordon said. "With each new plan, JCPS has inched closer to neighborhood schools, which they realize that parents want and children need to improve the horrendous education that our children are now getting."

"All the parents in this case were courageous to take on the school system, and even though they did not win this round, they have made JCPS turn the corner, away from the outdated social experiment of busing," he continued. "Now these parents are hopeful that JCPS will start improving the education outcome for all our children."

JCPS officials have maintained that letting students attend the school closest to their home would return the community to segregation.

The court heard arguments from both sides in April, but the issue really boils down to one thing -- what does the word "enroll" mean?

Byron Leet of JCPS, said nowhere does the word "enroll" also mean "attend."

"We went to three different dictionary definitions of what it means to enroll. Not a one of those definitions, whether Black's Law Dictionary, the Oxford English Dictionary or the Merriam Webster Dictionary, tells us that the words enroll and attend mean the same thing," he said.

But Gordon, argued that it's clear what the legislature intended: "The common sense meaning applicable here is that enroll, there's no 'in,' there's no 'at,' enroll in that school is the contemplation that these children go to school where they enroll."

School district supporters warned of dire consequences should they lose.

"The schools in Jefferson County will resegregate," said Louisville NAACP president Raoul Cunningham in April. "There's no doubt. if you go back to a neighborhood concept of schools, there's no question, the schools will resegregate."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Click HERE to read the ruling.

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