JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio talks after the state board of education approved a deal to avoid a takeover of the district. | Photo by Olivia Krauth

This story has been updated.

Jefferson County Public Schools is conducting a second national search to find a special education chief as a state-issued deadline looms.

An initial national search for the new cabinet-level role did not yield a qualified candidate, leading to a second search,  JCPS spokeswoman Renee Murphy said Wednesday. 

As part of JCPS’ settlement and corrective action plan with the state, the district needs to hire someone to lead special education by Jan. 1. 

Per the settlement, the position needs to be filled by an educator with at least 10 years of experience in special education, which is referred to as exceptional child education. 

“I can say at this time we are working hard to find candidates,” Murphy said.

It is unclear what will happen should JCPS miss the deadline, but Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis said he’s “positive” it is something they could work through.

JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio noted the vacancy in an update on the plan to the Kentucky Board of Education on Wednesday. The district “readvertised” the position in November, according to documents tied to Pollio’s update. 

The local school board approved the job description and necessary organizational chart changes in late September. 

Earlier this year, JCPS agreed to a settlement with the state, avoiding a lengthy hearing that could have potentially ended in a takeover. The position was required in the settlement itself, with additional changes coming in the corrective action plan.

As part of the deal with the state, Pollio must update KBE on the district’s progress on the plan regularly.

Around 13 percent of the corrective action plan’s tasks have been “established” since its October start, Pollio told the board. The remaining 87 percent of tasks are “developing,” meaning the district is still creating a plan or has only implemented in some schools. He expects the number of developing scores to decrease as the district continues working on the plan.

The Kentucky Department of Education will audit JCPS again in fall 2020, potentially placing it under state assistance or management due to how it accomplishes the goals in the plan.