The recent brouhaha the school board in Jefferson County kicked up by holding their evaluation of the district’s superintendent in secret has reached a legal climax.
And, it’s good news for those of us who believe in public transparency.
A Jefferson Circuit Court judge has ruled in support of an earlier Kentucky Attorney General finding that the local school board conducted their meeting illegally.
This mistake is going to cost the board, perhaps in more ways than one.
First, Circuit Court judge Irv Maze ordered the school system to pay the Louisville Courier-Journal’s legal fees for bringing the secrecy suit to court.
However, this legal gaffe might cost the board in other ways, as well.
As I discussed in a blog yesterday, the Kentucky Board of Education is highly upset about local boards and superintendents who are not “carrying the mail” for their students. The state board wants legislation so it can remove local school board members and superintendents when schools chronically under-perform. Though no specific names were mentioned in those recent discussions, it was also pointed out that the state board has the authority now to remove board members for misconduct.
Certainly, it’s no secret that Jefferson County has some of the state’s worst chronic low performing schools. The state board was quite critical of that situation in its October meeting.
Now, with the Jefferson County board in the hot seat for disobeying the law, the state board might not have to wait for new legislation. Jefferson County’s school board might just have given the state board all the ammunition it needs.