LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jefferson County Public Schools superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio delivered his fourth State of the District address Thursday. Pollio praised students, teachers and staff for their efforts to work during and through the pandemic. He also praised the district’s efforts. 

What You Need To Know

  • Dr. Marty Pollio delivered fourth State of the District address

  • He addressed student assigment, safety and new schools

  • Parents liked what they heard from Pollio

  • Four new schools will open in 18 months

Pollio the addressed student assignment. He told those on hand at Shawnee Academy, the way JCPS assigns students to schools hasn’t changed in almost 40 years. Pollio said it’s a controversial issue and has been since 1976. According to Pollio, 75% of middle and high school students who attend classes outside of their communities miss over six days of school. These are students who have no choice in the schools they attend. Pollio said changes must happen.

He said, “What we cannot debate is that our student assignment plan that we currently have is not working, and it’s time for a change. It’s time for us to come together, throughout the Spring, work on a new student assignment plan, bring recommendations to the community, get feedback, bring a final recommendation to our board and make a change as soon as possible to support the students of Jefferson County Public Schools. This is about all of our students when we look at feeder patterns.

JCPS parent Marliese Watts liked what she was hearing about student assignment. She said, “I think all of our students should have a choice about where they go to school. It’s important that we have diversity, but it’s also important that kids [aren’t] forced to ride on the bus for an hour.”

Another change Pollio addressed is student start times, an issue like student assignment, that hasn’t changed in 40 years. Pollio’s plan would be a two-year, phased-in approach. Dr. Pollio stressed school safety and security as a top priority and says a multi-million dollar investment will help.

Dr. Polio told the crowd, “We have to support that safety and security. We’re gonna bring in 30 SSOs (school safety officers). That school safety officer will work five to six schools. Then we’re also going to have a safety administrator in every middle and high school to build relationships with kids.”

Pollio said the district is currently working on the school safety plan. The plan looks at implementation, hiring and training. He said the district plans to implement the extra measures at the start of the new school year in August.

David McConnell is a parent of a JCPS student. He said, “Those are big moves. I’d like to see them happen. I’d love to see the mechanics of how we’re going to make that happen. I know changes cause a lot of pull on either side, but sometimes we’ve gotta take a risk and make a change to have things happen.”

Pollio also announced the district plans to open four new schools in the next 18 months. Two of the schools will be ready in August to welcome new students.