It was only a few hours after the new audit of the Jefferson County Public Schools was released on Wednesday by the Kentucky Auditor of Public Accounts before the denials started rolling in from Louisville’s entrenched, adults-first interests.
WAVE-3’s article, “JCPS fires back after audit claims wasted millions,” carried some of those first denials from a crowd that seems to place the status quo interests of highly paid school staffers ahead of those of Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) generally under-served students.
The audit is disturbing
It’s not surprising the adults-first crowd in Louisville is riled. The new audit takes clear aim at some long-time sacred cows – over-staffed and over-paid personnel in Jefferson County’s schools.
WAVE-3 points out some of the compelling evidence:
“The audit found 369 JCPS employees were making more than $100,000, three times more than one of the peer school systems auditors compared to JCPS.”
“Auditors found 150 salaries of $100,000 in central office alone. That’s compared to just 33 in Cobb County, Georgia central office outside of Atlanta, and 39 in Austin, Texas, two of the five benchmark school districts compared JCPS too.”
But deniers don’t want to hear it
The deniers excused those excesses in some rather nonsensical ways. They claimed many of the staffers had worked at Jefferson County for many years, apparently expecting us to believe everyone in comparison districts like Austin, Texas and Charlotte, North Carolina just arrived on their scenes recently.
One of the more outrageous excuses, as related by WAVE-3:
“Board member Carol Ann Haddad said the very public way Edelen went about all makes her think he’s using it as his own springboard to run for governor.”
Let’s see if we understand this. The auditor was wrong to issue a public report, funded with public tax dollars, in a public forum? Yeah, right!
Haddad really added to her denier status by saying:
“I really have a problem when people want to use education as a ground for political gain.”
Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!
Actually, the auditor did his job – pretty diligently as far as my first reading into the audit indicates – and now he is accused of playing politics?
Why is Haddad trying to raise a smoke screen around some pretty clear indications in the audit that the Jefferson County Board of Education members – also all elected, don’t forget – have not carried the mail for their kids very well? Why isn’t she digging into the audit, first, to see what needs work? Who is really the one playing politics at the expense of students?
One more thing: the deniers brought up test scores, claiming that they didn’t really look so bad, at least compared to Austin, Texas, which has comparison testing data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress. I’ll deal with that issue tomorrow and close by pointing out this situation provides dramatic new evidence that Louisville badly needs some real school choice options to help shake the establishment schools out of their denial problem.