Public Involvement Procedures Recommended for New Public School Facilities

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Public Involvement Procedures Recommended for New Public School Facilities  Posted: August 9, 2005

Proposed Public Notification And Involvement Procedures For Facility Siting, Closure Or Expansion Jefferson County Public Schools

Background: As reflected in the mission statement for the Jefferson County Public School District, community collaboration is integral to the education and well being of students. With 87 elementary schools, 23 middle schools, 20 high schools, and 23 other learning centers providing educational opportunities and meeting transportation needs for some 98,000 students, the school system interacts with the larger community and neighborhoods of Metro Louisville on many levels.

Among those levels is in the siting, closure, renovation, and expansion of facilities, including schools, bus compounds, and other related structures and properties. The General Assembly has provided in broad terms the minimum required interaction of the school system with the local community planning and zoning process, requiring consultation but not approval for proposals from the Planning Commission. Specifically, KRS 100.361 requires that ?adequate information concerning [state] proposals shall be furnished to the planning commission” and KRS 100.324 provides that proposals for public facilities be “referred to the commission to be reviewed in light of its agreement the comprehensive plan,” and that permits for construction or occupancy of such facilities are delayed for a period of up to sixty days in order to allow the commission to issue a report concerning the consistency of the public facility with the comprehensive plan.

While the statutes provide in broad terms the minimum consultation requirements, the Jefferson County Public School Board recognizes that informed community dialogue on facility siting, closure, renovation and expansion, in addition to meaningful Commission review, is valuable to the decisionmaking process and essential to maintaining broad community support for the JCPS mission. When it comes to community involvement, doing “the minimum” is not enough.

Thus, in order to facilitate these goals and advance the JCPS mission, we request that JCPS Staff, in consultation with neighborhood associations and the Department for Planning and Design Services, develop within ninety (90) days a Memorandum of Agreement for consideration by the Jefferson County School Board and Louisville Metro Planning Commission, establishing a comprehensive public notification and involvement plan for siting, closure, renovation, and expansion of Jefferson County Public School facilities, including schools, bus compounds, and other related structures and properties, with such plan to include:

(a) The scope of the facility actions subject to the plan, and any recommendations for tiering for facility actions of lesser community impact;

(b) Public notification procedures, including mail notification to neighbors and notification to neighborhood associations;

(c) The scheduling of a public information meeting, to be conducted at a time and place convenient to the affected neighborhood and to be scheduled no sooner than fourteen days included in the public notification, with a video record made of the meeting which will be filed as part of the public facility plan;

(d) A minimum period of thirty days between the notification under (b) and the filing of the public facility plan with the Planning Commission and Planning & Design Services;

(e) The creation of a local repository at a place convenient to the affected neighborhood where the public may access a copy of the public facility plan. The file will be kept current by JCPS and as documents, plans or other material is filed with local, state or federal agencies concerning the proposed facility, copies are to be filed contemporaneously in the public review file;

(f) A statement of consideration to be provided by JCPS providing a written response to comments received prior to or at the public meeting, which will be sent to any party requesting to receive the statement, and a copy of which will be filed with the public facility plan;

(g) Review of the proposed public facility by the entire Planning Commission at an evening hearing rather than by a committee of the Commission. [Note: Under current procedures, the Planning Commission has delegated community facility review (the local lexicon for “public facility” review) to a committee of the Commission. The JCPS Board believes, both as a matter of prudence, since neither KRS 100.324 or KRS 100.361(2) appear to authorize delegation of the public facility review to a committee but instead require review by the Commission, and as a matter of policy, the full Commission should be consulted on proposed JCPS facility proposals and community engagement should be maximized through full Commission review during evening session.]

While the Board would anticipate that the procedures would be adopted by the Planning Commission as an amendment to the Local Development Code, The Board requests that the MOA be developed so that the procedures can be implemented as a matter of District policy prior to incorporation into the LDC.


By Kentucky Resources Council on 08/09/2005 5:32 PM
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