Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

February 1, 2013

Raceland, Russell not happy with proposal

Mike James
The Independent

RACELAND — Two school districts are not happy with a non-resident enrollment proposal from the Greenup County system and are planning appeals to the state education commissioner to change it.

The Russell and Raceland-Worthington school boards each met Thursday and each board agreed to pursue changes in the agreements to allow additional children to enroll across district lines.

The Greenup board last week elected to tighten requirements for doing so because more students are leaving the district than are coming in.

Board members in both Raceland and Russell said they are mostly satisfied with Greenup's proposals, which set caps on the number of students who live in the Greenup district and enroll in other districts. The proposals include grandfather clauses allowing currently enrolled students to stay there. The sticking point for Raceland and Russell is that the proposals don't include pre-school siblings of the grandfathered children.

In other words, a Greenup family with one or more children in one of the two other districts and a younger child poised to enter kindergarten in the fall would have to send the younger child to Greenup schools.

Doing so would split families between districts and the proposal is unacceptable, board members in Russell and Raceland are saying.

“Their proposal would have been unacceptable to us if only it had included the siblings,” said Russell board member Sean Whitt.

Officials in both districts have met with Greenup officials to discuss including younger siblings in the grandfather clause and say Greenup rejected the counter proposals.

Russell's board on Thursday agreed to submit a contract to Greenup including the younger sibling clause; if Greenup rejects it Russell will seek a ruling from the commissioner.

The Raceland board, which has already had a written contract rejected by Greenup, voted to file its appeal with the commissioner immediately.

The two districts believe they have a precedent in their favor in the appeals process. The Corbin independent district filed such an appeal when Knox County refused to renew their non-resident agreement; the commissioner ruled that siblings must be included.

Once the appeal is filed, Commissioner Terry Holliday has 30 days to rule. If either district is not satisfied with the ruling they may file a further appeal to the Kentucky Board of Education, which has 60 days from that time to rule.

Either side may contest that rule by taking the matter to court.

Where students attend school is important because the state funds schools based on the number of students.