SCALA and their Sordid Affairs

SCALA stands for Steering Committee for Action on Louisville’s Agenda. Modeled after a similar group in Nashville, they’re like our local ALEC. The Joneses, who are like our local Koch brothers, and other powerful, local and deep-pocketed CEOs and business leaders, created the group, which some called “nefarious,” in 2018. At the time, Jones Jr. claimed he did not have the solutions, but he was simply sounding the alarm that schools needed to be fixed.

“Asked further about a potential state takeover of JCPS, Jones told reporters he is not an expert in fixing schools, and again suggested calling the governor.

“I’m not a fixer of it, I’m a person that’s carrying the message that it needs to be fixed,” he said.

WFPL Story, SCALA Co-Chair David Jones Short On Details For JCPS Fix,

For not knowing how to fix schools, Jones Junior sure did try to bring in outside managers, facilitate state takeovers and limit democratic processes when he was JCPS Board Chair. (We saw what he was doing and we voted him out in 2016.) But he didn’t give up his plans when we showed him the door. He just decided to go in through the window. In 2017, a year after Junior was sent packing, SCALA’s influence rose to prominence, sparking #Louminati to trend on social media. And when he got caught, he just went deeper underground and they even changed the group’s name. He uses his money, power and influence to cut in front of those who have been in the trenches, working to elevate the harms the district leaders and lawmakers cause and bring meaningful solutions., only to have them attacked, discredited, denied access to decision makers and our ideas and labor stolen, derailed and

When Jones does talk, he sounds a lot like the privatizers that we’ve seen infiltrating the GOP in communities across the country. And he may pretend to be a liberal, but his daddy sure did donate a lot of money to Republicans running for office during the time the Kentucky House shifted from blue to red in recent years.

“I think to fix the schools, it’s going to take a takeover,” Jones said in response to another Rotarian’s questions. Throughout his comments, he cited issues such as what he sees as state laws that require the school board to micromanage even the district’s smallest decisions. He also pointed to what he deemed improper resource allocation and a lack of superintendent and school board authority.”


The quote above foreshadows changes that made it into law via SB250 in 2019 and SB1 in 2022, which sealed the coffin for SBDMs, taking away principal selection power for the districts that still had it, and taking away curriculum selection power for everyone. The protections put into place by KERA, intended to thwart secrecy, back room deals and corruption, are a thing of the past. I believe when SBDM members realize what has happened to them, and they want to know “whose throat to choke”, (another famous Jones expression), we’ll be sure to tell them it’s yours.

SCALA received so much negative publicity when it first came out, some decided to stick out out, but some withdrew after some public pressure. Everyone in Louisville, KY knows the late Humana co-founder David Jones, Sr. and his son, David Jones, Jr. have been instrumental in the steering of the steering committee and have been trying to advance Junior’s agenda against the will of Jefferson County taxpayers and educators since long before I got here in 2012, where Junior was serving on the Jefferson County school board.

Here, we blogged about a lot of it while it was happening:

If you're looking for a recap of the reasons why voters in Louisville's liberal Highlands and Crescent Hill neighborhoods chose Chris Kolb over incumbent David Jones, Jr., in 2016, despite not having the teachers' union endorsement, we've got the "receipts" but it will take some time to get them all posted. Keep checking back.

In the mean time, please consider making a donation to the alternative candidates featured at the bottom of each Dark Money Democrat‘s page. Our most urgent need is to make sure privatizers running for vulnerable seats as Democrats don’t steal the election from true progressives who have proven track records in fighting for and bringing real change for actual people in our community. I have some videos I think you’ll be interested in, but I don’t want to let searching for them slow down the point I really wanted to make when I created this page, and that is SCALA is the white liberal’s version of ALEC and the Joneses are our local version of the Kochs, but worse, because they seem to be operating with the full faith and credit of Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell.

Whether these dark-money factions are working together or consider each other rivals has yet to be seen. But it doesn’t matter, because in either case, they are fighting at the expense of our children, not on behalf of them, and anyone with possible ties or loyalty to either camp must be denied any further opportunity to pilfer from the coffers.

Just as MLK warned of the white moderate in his letter from Birmingham jail, Malcolm X may have just as well mentioned some of our favorite “liberals” in Jefferson County by name when he said this quote. Many of the Democrats on the May 17 ballot have ties to SCALA and David Jones, Jr. himself. (For a list of candidates with suspected ties to ALEC, click here.)

Let’s recap:

The “establishment’s” Dark-Money Democrats, who have demonstrable ties to SCALA and their ilk, and therefore are benefactors of big-money, heavy-handed, back-room dealings, are listed below. The good news is they all have progressive alternatives who have proven track records of pushing back on the establishment, but these challengers MUST WIN THEIR PRIMARY ON MAY 17, 2022. Please help us get the word out about the following Dark Money Primary Candidates that will be on the Democratic Primary Ticket:

US Senator Candidate Morgan McGarvey

Louisville Mayoral Candidate Craig Greenberg

County Attorney Incumbent Mike O’Connell

District 34 House Representative Candidate Jonathan Lowe

District 33 House Representative Candidate Sue Foster

County Judge Incumbent Mary Shaw (non-partisan)

Click on the links and decide for yourself. This list will be updated and more links and more suitable alternatives with proven track records will be added. Please send any questions, requests for additional information or supporting documentation to For a more extensive list of Democratic candidates that could be tied and/or caught red-handed enabling dark money forces in their party, click the button below: