Let’s just create this page for the “everyone else” who seems to have undue influence over district decisions that isn’t formally part of SCALA or any of the other astroturf groups they create.
2019’s SB250 – The anti-SBDM bill
We heard whisperings that Julie Raque Adams had agreed to sponsor SB250, that David Jones, Jr. was behind the most egregious parts of it, such as stripping away SBDM powers from parents and teachers and handing them over to the district superintendent, as well as limited the frequency of board meetings, spending limits that need board approval and so on. JCTA President Brent McKim even bragged to a long-time KY Alliance member that he was the one who got Julie Raque Adams to sponsor the bill.
McKim looked like a dear in headlights when I confronted him about that one day at a committee meeting in Frankfort, and later it got back to me that I wasn’t supposed to say anything, which means McKim must have gone back to my source to condemn him. I’m sorry I said something but it was told to us at a table full of people and I figured it was common knowledge at that point.
Regardless who was behind making the back room connections, the evidence that Raque Adams and GLI were doing the dirty work of Junior’s privatization agenda was obvious. Even Senator Morgan McGarvey acknowledged Junior was behind it when I expressed our concerns about the bill and other back room deals and abuses of power going on. I mentioned one or two components that were clearly Jones’ contributions and he guffawed, “You should have seen it before!” I told him he should have left it alone so everyone could see Jones’ handiwork, because it would never pass or gain any traction. Jefferson County voters voted him out because we don’t like his management style. I said, “We showed him the door and now you are letting him back in a window. Quit making bad bills better and forcing us to eat them.” We don’t want Jones making decisions for us and if we see that he is, we will turn out in numbers. Trust Louisville to see what’s going on and to show up.
Sure enough, even with the bill being toned down, Jefferson County teachers sicked out on the day the bill was heard in the House Education Committee. I spoke against the bill and House Rep. Jerry Miller glanced over at McKim as he interrupted me to accuse me of being the reason so many teachers were not teaching today. I corrected him and said he was the reason. The hateful rhetoric and misinformation he spewed as if he was classically trained by ALEC was all it took for us to pay attention and show up to say no to any more bills that would hurt education in general and JCPS in particular.
We couldn’t help but notice that Raque Adams’ speech to the education committees were almost verbatim to the press information found on the GLI website, which contained much of David Jones, Jr.’s vision for streamlining the management of a district the size of ours. As a side note, it would appear that Jones got the bulk of what was taken out in 2019 put back in last minute in the 2022 SB1 Bill. Because they could. No one was there to stop them.
(Link to SB250 and GLI Connections coming soon)
Yes 4 JCPS
Well, this group actually does appear to be tied to SCALA and JCTA, but we’ll include them here too. When our Stand with JCPS campaign was launched, and we were told to wait, it was so this astroturf group could get the jump on us.
I write more about it in another section, but the patterns and practices keep repeating themselves, so it’s important to draw attention to them for those who may have missed it the first time.
We were told that we had unanimously agreed to unconditionally support the tax increase and that our petition to EARN the People’s Vote that we were now doing OUTSIDE of AROS would undermine their efforts to sit quietly and try not to get caught gaming the system. Their plan was to have JCTA officers contact petitioners and have their signatures on the “No JCPS Tax Hike” petition disqualified instead of educating the public about the need to raise the bonding capacity of the district in order to build more schools and work toward a plan that would cut down on the number of students bussed out of their neighborhood against their wishes. I guess they felt that because the tea party was being disingenuous about their reasons for the petition, they were justified in being disingenuous too. Why else would Board Member Chris Kolb dismiss concerns coming from Black and Black-allied organizations who needed and deserved reassurances that this tax increase would benefit them, after so many other promises have been broken?
Another example of “trusting them when we should know better” came from last summer’s coalition calls with JCPS Board Members. When we met with JCPS Board member and pastor Corrie Shull about the district’s plans to prevent the anti-CRT legislation from passing, he seemed highly confident that putting 100% of their faith in the business community was going to work out just fine. They had met with Dr. Pollio and he said they were going to come out strong about how this bill is bad for business and it should not pass. We knew otherwise, but alas, we failed in imparting our experiences onto him, as you can see from the recording of our meeting.
December came and there was no sign of any business leaders taking a stand against the anti-CRT legislation, so I called Pastor Shull and asked him to ask Dr. Pollio “what gives?”
I never heard back, but the entirety of SB138 made it into the SB1 Monster Bill on the final days of session.
When I ran into Pastor Shull at a Student Assignment Meeting shortly thereafter, I asked him what happened. He admitted how things played out caught him by surprise and he was certainly having to reevaluate everything. That was that.