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Jefferson County (Ky.) district makes deal to avoid state takeover

School board votes 4 to 3 to approve settlement that gives state input into improvement efforts.

The Jefferson County (Ky.) school district has approved a deal to avoid a takeover by the state.

The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that the settlement, approved by a 4-3 vote of the Jefferson County school board, is seen as a victory for those in Louisville who have fought to keep the school system under local control.

The deal is also viewed as a win for the state and interim Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis, who secured veto power over three of Jefferson County's main problem areas without having to take on the burden of managing the 100,000-student district.

Under the deal, the locally elected Jefferson County board must cede several powers to the state.

Board member Chris Kolb, who voted against the settlement, said he thought Lewis' recommendation of state management was "unwarranted" and that school district would have prevailed in a fight against it.

He said he voted against it largely out of concern about loopholes that could allow the state to still take over the district.

Lewis said the settlement would give the state veto power over three key areas and would give the state the ability to offer feedback in several other areas. He said the state would have final approval of corrective action plans to address deficiencies in the audit.

Kolb told reporters after the vote that the settlement gives Lewis "way too much authority" over the district.

 

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