Students in Kentucky do not have a legal right to attend any school they choose, only to attend classes at a public school, the state supreme court ruled last week.
The court’s ruling upholds the plan currently in use by the Jefferson County school district, which includes the city of Louisville, about how students are assigned to schools across the county. Justice Lisabeth Hughes Abramson wrote that state law is clear that school districts across Kentucky have the authority to distribute students throughout based on what the school board sees as the best method.
The 84,000-student Jefferson County system examines a number of socioeconomic factors in assigning schools, meaning some students don’t necessarily attend the school closest to their homes. A group of parents had sued to change the school assignment system in the hope of sending their children to neighborhood schools.
“Indeed, every single school board has to know its district and make decisions that are best suited to its student population,” Ms. Abramson wrote for the five-member majority of the court.
The decision overturns a state court of appeals ruling last year tossing out the student-assignment plan in the state’s largest school district.
A version of this article appeared in the September 26, 2012 edition of Education Week as Ky. High Court Upholds School Assignments