School Board Made Anti-Transparency Move, Horne & Jones The Ringleaders

On Thursday, February 11th, there will be an Open Records Training Session for members of the Metro Council and their staff in Council Chambers beginning at 12:30pm. This session will be for informational and instructional purposes only and will update any changes in the Open Records Law of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. It will also cover Metro Government Guidelines for Social Media. [Press Release]

Surprise! David Jones, Stephanie Horne and crew want to stifle open discussion of issues at Jefferson County Board of Education meetings. [WDRB]

The agency that Metropolitan Sewer District Executive Director Tony Parrott led in Cincinnati before coming to Louisville is going to get a state audit following a Gannett newspaper’s investigation of its finances. [C-J/AKN]

Another day, another fun shooting here in Compassionate City! This time it was a postal worker in the West End. [WHAS11]

Less than a week after Rand Paul ended his presidential campaign, some of the Kentucky senator’s top supporters in the state legislature have backed Marco Rubio ahead of the state’s Republican presidential caucus next month. [H-L]

What a fun day of shooting yesterday turned out to be. [WLKY]

Hillary Clinton is concerned for the future of women’s reproductive rights. [HuffPo]

A new mayor was elected in Shepherdsville, hours after the former mayor resigned. [WAVE3]

Jefferson County Public Schools superintendet Donna Hargens wants authority to hire principals without Site-Based Decision-Making council input. But we discovered Hargens has a terrible track record of hiring the worst of the worst when there’s no SBDM accountability. [The ‘Ville Voice]

Federal officials say Kentucky could have to return more than $57 million in unused grant money because of Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s decision to dismantle kynect. [WFPL]

Much has been said about the dangers of oil trains following several high-profile accidents, including a fiery 2013 crash in Quebec that killed 50 people. Now a report from Greenpeace points to another potential hazard that could be even deadlier: chlorine trains. [Click the Clicky]

Louisville-based Al J. Schneider Co. has hired Louisville real estate firm CBRE Group Inc. of Louisville to assess the possible sale of its downtown Louisville office properties, which includes the 25-story Waterfront Plaza and One Riverfront Plaza on Main Street. [Business First]

River Valley Middle School eighth-graders got a close look Friday at what careers in STEM fields could look like. [News & Tribune]

Donna Hargens Has A Questionable Track Record Of Hiring JCPS Principals

Jefferson County Public Schools superintendent Donna Hargens has for some time been pressing the Board of Education, along with state legislators, to make a major change to school district hiring processes. Specifically, Hargens has requested that she be granted authority to hire school principals on her own, completely bypassing Site-Based Decision-Making councils at individual schools. As recently as last month, Hargens told A Kentucky Newspaper just that.

Her reasoning? She claims good people aren’t interested in applying to become principals because they might be embarrassed if they aren’t selected by a SBDM council. Just for safe measure, she also claims they’d face additional embarrassment upon returning to their schools after being passed over, encountering difficulty because they could be viewed by colleagues as disloyal. According to Hargens, she just wants to hire the best principal possible. But those pesky SBDM councils are getting in her way.

That’s that for local media. No one wants to dig in to question the claims of local officials. Not even when those claims fall apart in the blink of an eye.

Unfortunately for Donna Hargens, some of us aren’t gullible and possess a quality called skepticism. That skepticism allowed us to spend a few minutes digging and asking questions to discover there’s a group of schools within the district without SBDM councils calling the shots – schools where she gets to select the principal. The infamous alternative schools. Her track record there can in no way be considered positive.

Let’s take a look…

Remember Jerry Keepers? He was removed from Southern High School by the Kentucky Department of Education because he “ha[d] not established a culture of high academic expectations for all students.” That was quietly swept under the rug after initial media reports. Cut and dry case, get rid of him, move on, right? That’s the common sense thing to do. But Keepers was ultimately placed at at Jefferson County High School, which operates the eSchool program, along with several dropout prevention efforts. There’s no SBDM council there.

Joey Riddle was removed from Iroquois High School at the same time. He was then moved to Buechel Metropolitan High School. And when Buechel closed last june, Donna Hargens gave him a job at – wait for it – Jefferson County High School. He was appointed Assistant Principal. Officially making the school a dumping ground for administrators who lose their jobs after Department of Education intervention or damning audits.

In late October, Riddle decided to sue the district for defamation. Because of course he did.

Still with us? There are several more.

Ken Moeller was ousted by the state from Doss High School. Only to score a job from Hargens at the Phoenix School of Discovery, another alternative school. And you guessed it, there’s no SBDM council there.

Remember Minor Daniels Academy? Teachers were so afraid to go to work that they begged the school board to step in. The man at the helm of that school was Donald Dillard, who had been transferred from the disaster that was Farnsley Middle School, where he was an assistant principal. Instead of holding Dillard accountable, Hargens transferred the teachers who raised concerns. We’re sure it’s merely a coincidence that Donald Dillard faced no accountability. Merely a coincidence that he’s married to Michelle Dillard, one of Hargens’ Assistent Superintendents for Academic Achievement.

Finally, there’s Westport TAPP (TAPP = Teenage Parent Program) and South Park TAPP, which are effectively sister schools. DeLena Alexander was placed at Westport after she was removed by the state from Stuart Middle School. South Park’s assistant principal, Stacie Gamble, scored her job after being forced out of Kammerer Middle School. Or, as Gamble claimed, she just wanted to do something different.

Back to Donna Hargens’ track record of hiring principals…

Reality is that even a cursory Google search and a bit of questioning suggests Hargens’ track record of placing principals is nothing short of spectacularly bad when there are no Site-Based Decision-Making councils to hold anyone accountable. SBDM-free schools become dumping grounds for anything but the best of the best.

With a track record like that, can you imagine what Hargens would do with all of the 173 schools in the district?

Situations like those above are precisely why no one should be hired without SBDM input.

P.S. Hargens isn’t the only Kentucky superintendent with a bad track record of placing principals. Check out our coverage on Page One of Montgomery County Schools over the past few years. These two districts are major case studies that prove superintendents should never be given sole hiring authority.

ZIKA IS COMING OH NO GET SCARED

Kentucky and Indiana officials have missed self-imposed goals for finalizing details that will govern RiverLink, the toll network on three Ohio River bridges set to start this year. [WDRB]

Remember that Jefferson County Public Schools story we covered that everyone else ignored? The Office of the Attorney General said JCPS broke the law. Who could have known??? [C-J/AKN]

An employee with the Kentucky Juvenile Justice center tells WHAS 11 that Commissioner Bob Hayter is no longer with the department. [WHAS11]

Any business person knows that when costs are rising faster than revenue, you should raise revenue and not just cut costs. [Tom Eblen]

OH GOD WE’RE ALL GONNA GET THE ZIKA! [WLKY]

Hillary Clinton is concerned for the future of women’s reproductive rights. [HuffPo]

Kentucky’s new Governor Matt Bevin nixed a request to restore the $420,000 per year contribution in his bare-bones FY 2017 and 2018 budget proposal. [WAVE3]

President Obama will release his final budget proposal on Tuesday, in which he’ll call for $11 billion in funding over the next decade to address homelessness among families. [ThinkProgress]

Way to go go, Metro Council, for leading the way to suck town. A Louisville Metro Council committee is considering a multi-year effort aimed at reworking the city’s 800-page land development code, but one of the big issues before it — affordable housing — will not be examined until at least this spring. [WFPL]

The billionaire former mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, has confirmed he is considering running as an independent candidate for the US presidency. [BBC]

The Louisville division of Computershare Inc. is looking to hire lots of new employees in a variety of roles. [Business First]

Jeffersonville High School freshman Johnathan Woodward laughed at the prospect of becoming a firefighter one day, but admitted he was imagining what it would be like. [News & Tribune]

JCPS Needs About A Billion Dollars

The long-awaited opening of a new elementary school this summer will come at the same time Jefferson County Public Schools is expected to unveil a plan to deal with a growing problem – more than $880 million in facility needs scattered across the district. [WDRB]

Conversations about alleged drug activity on the nextdoor.com social network site for Crescent Hill are increasing, and residents were urged to report such incidents to the police at a recent gathering. [C-J/AKN]

WARNING! RIDICULOUS AUTOPLAY VIDEO! It will apparently take a second resignation from the UofL Board of Trustees before Governor Matt Bevin can act to replace Paul Diaz. [WHAS11]

More than a dozen states have strengthened laws over the past two years to keep firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers, a rare area of consensus in the nation’s highly polarized debate over guns. [H-L]

WARNING! RIDICULOUS AUTOPLAY VIDEO! Another day, another pedestrian accident. [WLKY]

U.S. employment gains slowed more than expected in January as the boost to hiring from unseasonably mild weather faded, but surging wages and an unemployment rate at an eight-year low suggested the labor market recovery remains firm. [HuffPo]

Hundreds turned out to say goodbye to local civil rights pioneer, Benjamin Shobe, Sunday at his visitation. [WAVE3]

Just a reminder if you haven’t yet read this. How do you stop states and cities from forcing more disclosure of so-called dark money in politics? Get the debate to focus on an “average Joe,” not a wealthy person. Find examples of “inconsequential donation amounts.” Point out that naming donors would be a threat to “innocents,” including their children, families and co-workers. And never call it dark money. “Private giving” sounds better. [ProPublica]

On the corner of Breckenridge and Logan streets, at the edge of Smoketown, there’s a giant hole in the ground. It’s an active construction site, with trucks and heavy machinery working behind a barbed-wire fence. [WFPL]

There are some subtle indications Republicans may be rethinking the wisdom of trying to make right-to work-an issue in this year’s legislative elections. [Ronnie Ellis]

The International Boat Builders’ Exhibition & Conference (known as IBEX) is leaving Louisville for Florida. [Business First]

In the May primary election, two familiar faces will vie for a judge’s seat on opposite sides of the aisle. [News & Tribune]

Another Gag-Worthy Week For UofL

A job listing just posted online for Louisville Metro Police Department has some wondering if the city’s police force is short on officers. [WDRB]

It’s hilarious that Rick Pitino is defending Jim Ramsey, as if they’re both victims of things they can’t help. Both of these men are the worst of the worst in higher education. Pitino, with sex scandal after sex scandal. Ramsey, with financial corruption mess after financial corruption mess. Both should be relieved of their duties instead of allowing a bunch of kids to take the blame for crap that those two are ultimately supposed to take responsibility. [C-J/AKN]

WARNING! RIDICULOUS AUTOPLAY VIDEO! A University of Louisville’s Board of Trustees member has resigned following months of questions surrounding its racial imbalance. [WHAS11]

Just eight years ago, most of the domestic violence deaths in Louisville were from strangulation. Today, more than 71 percent are from guns. [H-L]

How excited are you that the shootings are spreading to Southern Indiana? [WLKY]

Health care got some attention in Saturday night’s GOP presidential debate. And when it was Texas Sen. Turd Cruz’s turn to speak, he started by cataloging the alleged evils of “socialized medicine.” [HuffPo]

Another day, another fun shooting in Compassionate City! [WAVE3]

Noting their excitement about “the energy that exists across campus,” Maribeth and Louis Berman, of Louisville, have pledged $1 million to Eastern Kentucky University to support a combination of academic and student-focused initiatives. [Richmond Register]

The Louisville Metro Council will soon consider measures to streamline the process for bringing ultra-fast Internet access, including a plan to condense the franchise-granting authority of Jefferson County’s suburban cities for communication services into one entity. [WFPL]

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ campaign has reportedly raised $3 million since Monday night’s Iowa caucuses. [The Hill]

A new study shows that Kentucky and Arkansas had the sharpest decline in the percentage of adult residents without health insurance from 2013 to 2015. [Business First]

Voters on both sides of the aisle will have options for the Clark County Council race, as 10 people signed up to run for the three At-large seats up for election in each party in May’s primary. [News & Tribune]

Tolls Tolls Tolls Tolls Tolls Tolls Tolls

The principal of Stuart Middle School has been reassigned and transferred to Central High School as an assistant principal. [WDRB]

WARNING! RIDICULOUS AUTOPLAY VIDEO! The University of Louisville announced Thursday that it’s kicking off a capital fundraising campaign for its previously announced plans to expand Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. [C-J/AKN]

Labor leaders at Brown-Forman have filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board accusing the spirits maker of unfair labor practices. [WHAS11]

University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto has formed a task force to advise him on what to do about a controversial mural in Memorial Hall. [H-L]

Another day, yet another JCPS bus crash. Everyone is numb to news like this. [WLKY]

President Barack Obama has said that a college degree “has never been more valuable.” But if you borrow to finance your degree, the immediate returns are the lowest they’ve been in at least a generation, new data show. [HuffPo]

In just a few short months, tolls across WAVE Country will be a reality. The price will range from $1 to $4 per way for everyday drivers, but getting that discounted rate may be harder than you think. [WAVE3]

Marlow Cook may forever be remembered by Louisvillians as the Jefferson County Executive who purchased the Belle of Louisville, but I remember him not only as my first boss, but also as someone who directly and significantly shaped my life and the lives of so many in public life [John Yarmuth]

The Louisville Metro Council will soon consider measures to streamline the process for bringing ultra-fast Internet access, including a plan to condense the franchise-granting authority of Jefferson County’s suburban cities for communication services into one entity. [WFPL]

In Kentucky, more men than women die pedestrian deaths. [Click the Clicky]

Jim Ramsey knows his days at the University of Louisville are numbered. [Business First]k

Clarksville has decided not to open its pool this year due to ongoing renovations. That decision should reap benefits for New Albany’s River Fun Water Park. [News & Tribune]

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