Chris Brady is not afraid to ask questions and challenge JCPS and board actions
In April of 2015, Dr. Hargens brought a proposal to outsource legal counsel to the board, indicating in part, that outsourcing legal counsel would finally give the board the right to hire and fire that legal counsel. Chris Brady contacted the KSBA for clarification to this assertion and challenged the claim with Dr. Hargens and the board chair. He indicated that KSBA's documentation and state law has always provided the right for the board to hire and fire the board attorney, and his assertions were backed by the board attorney. Further, he questioned the wisdom of getting rid of an attorney with a deep wealth of knowledge about the district, the financial implications of doing so, and the implications for staff used to having a dedicated JCPS legal counsel. At the time, he indicated if the thought was that the board was supposed to "take her (Hargens) word for everything, then that's a rubber stamp and that's not something I can get behind.”
In meetings since then, I've seen Chris Brady ask probing questions of Dr. Hargens, continually chastise the superintendent and staff for not providing the board enough time or information to consider decisions brought to their attention, and stand apart from his fellow representatives when he thought it was necessary. Recently Chris Brady made a stand to take the board into executive session to discuss the contract negotiations with JCTA that were once routine, but this year had turned ugly due to some questionable recommendations following a salary study. Brady was able to do so over the objections of board members because he was aware of his rights and duties as a board member and under the policies that guide the board and acted accordingly without backing down.
Chris Brady refused to approve policy limiting board discussion at meetings in fighting for transparency
I was also at a February 9th board meeting in which Chris Brady strongly opposed a first reading of a policy proposal that would allow the board chair to limit discussion among board members, discourage board members from requesting reports, and would have board members sign a pledge to adhere to these guidelines. At this board meeting, the policy that Brady opposed was railroaded through (ironically, against board policy that requires such policies to have more than one reading) and became policy. According to WDRB, Brady said, "We are a public organization and we have to be able to be transparent. Putting these guidelines in here gets in the way of that transparency. If our goal is to say sunshine is the best disinfectant, then this is blocking the sunshine. I am not inclined to vote for this at all." Brady also indicated that were he to be reelected, he would not be inclined to sign a pledge to abide by that policy when it took effect in 2017, and didn't understand how it was enforceable.
Chris Brady is a JCPS parent who believes in the institution of public education
The Bluegrass Fund, charter school groups, and many local business people have recently taken an avid interest in influencing public education. What many of these individuals seem to have in common is that they send their kids to private schools but want to dictate the policies and decisions that guide the schools of those of us with kids in public schools. Chris Brady sends his kids to public schools. He knows what it is like to be a parent in JCPS. He has experience with teachers, administrators, the school selection process, and navigating the system. And he believes that public schools are important, and shouldn't be influenced by outside corporate interests. The fact that Chris Brady has children in JCPS means that his decisions are influenced by the education and experience he wants his own children to have within JCPS and what he experiences on a daily basis. His belief in bettering public education guides him to make decisions to positively impact our children, their teachers, and the schools they learn and teach in. He is not looking to serve outsiders who'd like to mold public education into a for-profit business. Chris Brady also understands what it is like to be a working parent within JCPS, as he attends to not just his school board duties, but also a full time job with a local employer, and the needs of a busy family. I would much rather have a school board member who is experiencing the system first hand than one without kids in the system and no recent relevant experience as a parent in the district.
Chris Brady is experienced
Chris Brady has almost four years of valuable experience under his belt. As was shown in his recent forum with other candidates in District 7, Chris Brady understands the vision JCPS has for the future, the actions taken by the superintendent, the board, and the district, and has shown he is well versed in what his duties are as a school board representative through continuous research and dedication to the position. His well funded opponent, Fritz Hollenbach, didn't seem to grasp what was and wasn't within his duties as a school board representative at last week's candidate forum, and showed he was ill informed and flippant about the recent JCPS decision to change its grading scale. Brady knows what he is talking about, understands the district, and will spend the next four years only strengthening his own knowledge and abilities as a school board representative.
Chris Brady listens and responds
In the last four years, Chris Brady has been great at getting back to me about questions and concerns I have, as well as talking to me one on one before or after school board meetings. He is approachable, kind, and thoughtful in his responses. He may not always agree, but he will respectfully listen and provide you with the information that guides his decisions, and to help you with issues you may be having. By contrast, his opponent Fritz Hollenbach seems to want to dodge questions, not even taking time to answer questions that have been sitting out on his Facebook page for weeks regarding his positions on issues.
His Opponent Has No Recent Relevant Experience or Coherent Plans For Improving Schools and Seems Beholden To Big Money Donors With Unknown Agendas
Chris Brady's main competition in this race seems to be Fritz Hollenbach, a candidate who only recently moved back to Louisville in 2015, after 30 years away from the city. Although Hollenbach has teaching experience, most of it was out of public schools, and was many decades ago. His website mentions high level statements discussing accountability and managing funds better, but both his forum responses and his website are short on details about how he will accomplish this. His idea of a third grade reading "guarantee" sounds good, but doesn't indicate any real direction on how he will actually make sure more kids are reading by third grade. Will Fritz's policy mirror Ohio, where PBS has reported the reading "guarantee" doesn't necessarily mean a child is reading at the level of a proficient third grader and still results in many students lagging far behind in their peers? And perhaps most importantly, why is the Bluegrass Fund throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars behind Fritz Hollenbach when he's an inexperienced candidate who has spent 30 years outside the district and appears not to be interested in keeping up or learning about the recent activity of JCPS?
The Choice is Clear -- Vote for Chris Brady
Chris Brady has the experience, knowledge, drive, and personal commitment to JCPS and public education that District 7 and Jefferson County's students and families need. Join me and vote for Chris Brady on November 8.