To some it seems simple: If Jefferson County Public Schools must redesign its student-assignment plan, why not just send children to the closest school?
Parents will be more involved, bus rides won't be as long and the student-assignment process will be a lot easier to understand, they say.
I'd love a neighborhood school — and a lot of other parents would, too," said LeeAnn Morrison, whose eighth-grade daughter will take a 25-minute bus ride to a Valley Station school next year.
But district officials say that switching to an assignment plan that relies solely on neighborhood schools could create a host of problems.
Schools in growing suburbs could quickly become too crowded. Parents likely would have fewer schools to choose from. And schools in segregated neighborhoods would become less diverse — both racially and economically.
A 2000 district analysis projected that a strict neighborhood plan would leave 48,000 students in resegregated schools, falling outside the district's goal of 15percent to 50percent black enrollment.
"I've heard a lot of people say, `If we could just go back to neighborhood schools...,'" said Amy Metz, a member of the district's PTA board. "But to me, that's the worst thing that could happen."
District officials appear wary of such a strict neighborhood plan.
New Superintendent Sheldon Berman said last week that he was "not leaning in that direction," and Joe Hardesty, chairman of the school board, said board members worry about the effect on the district's integration efforts.
"I'm not ruling anything out," Hardesty said. "But it's probably accurate to say the board would not be interested in a plan that would resegregate our schools, and a neighborhood plan might do that..."
This from the Courier-Journal.