Just before the new school year started, Jefferson County Schools stirred a hornets’ nest with its ill-advised busing plan. This plan requires some of the school district’s five-year olds to travel well over 20 miles each way to school, making as many as three bus changes in the process.
Now, the district has put another 1,000 plus students and their parents in turmoil thanks to another, ill-thought-out action.
For a number of years, various worthwhile after school programs have been operating in the district’s schools. These programs cover a wide variety of subjects from science to dance and visual arts. That’s a good thing.
The district’s Web site even listed some of the programs such as the Young Rembrandts program, as a featured service in participating elementary schools and in individual school Web pages such as the Young Rembrandts listing here (which will probably be changed before you can link to it):
The programs were provided by for-profit organizations. Parents willingly paid the fees for these programs, which kept kids in safe and nurturing environments. It seems that everyone involved was happy.
But, not this year.
The Courier-Journal reports that someone just discovered that Jefferson County Schools has a policy that bans for-profit organizations from operating any activities in the schools.
District spokespeople make it sound like the presence of these programs was only recently discovered; but, that seems strange. Aside from Web pages happily noting these programs in the Jefferson County Schools, the district even uses some of the programs like the Young Rembrandts program as examples of how to code money transfers (as code 0590) in the MUNIS fiscal accounting system.
Surly the district would know about organizations with which it does business.
Anyway, these programs have been summarily cancelled or at least put on hold while the district tries to get its act together. At least, that is the district’s story.
So, here’s the bottom line.
(1) The precedent of these programs operating in the schools is already several years old – some programs reportedly have operated for up to 10 years in the schools.
(2) The programs were apparently popular and met a need.
(3) The programs were already underway in the current school term.
(4) The district can’t possibly have been ignorant of these programs – the district even had accounting codes for them.
So, given the history, wouldn’t it be far more parent- and student-friendly to allow the programs to at least continue through the rest of this school year rather than to abruptly cancel or suspend them without due notice to parents?
What do you think?