Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

July 13, 2013

Raceland, Greenup trying to settle on reciprocity deal

Mike James
The Independent

RACELAND — School boards of the  Raceland-Worthington and Greenup County districts plan to meet with a mediator July 23 to wrestle with issues that are holding up a reciprocal attendance agreement, Raceland Superintendent Larry Coldiron said.

The districts are trying to settle the terms of an agreement under which some students living in each district would be allowed to attend the other.

Mediation has become necessary because Raceland wasn’t satisfied with a proposal from state Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday.

The proposal would allow students living in the Greenup District who had been enrolled in Raceland before Jan. 24 of this year to remain there, and would allow their pre-school siblings to enroll at Raceland once they reached kindergarten age.

However, if those students had other siblings who had been enrolled in a Greenup school, those siblings would have to remain in Greenup schools, Coldiron said.

That is a sticking point because Raceland officials believe children in a family should be permitted to attend the same schools. “It’s still breaking up families,” Coldiron said.

Raceland also objects to the Jan. 24 cutoff point, he said. Any Greenup resident student who enrolled at Raceland after that date would have to return to Greenup.

About 200 Raceland students live within Greenup district boundaries, he said.

Greenup is still waiting for data from Raceland on the numbers of siblings that would be involved, Greenup school board chairwoman Kelly Adkins said. “Until we get some numbers it will be hard to say what will be agreeable to us,” she said.

Previous talks with the Russell district went smoothly and produced an agreement because Russell provided the sibling data in a timely fashion, she said.

The reciprocity issue has been simmering, and occasionally boiling over, since January, when the Greenup board tightened requirements for the agreements because the number of children leaving the district was far greater than the number coming to Greenup from outside its boundaries.

The deficit was costing Greenup thousands of dollars in state per-pupil funding, because under typical reciprocity agreements, the money follows the student. The current per-pupil amount is about $4,000.

Greenup was losing the most students to Russell and Raceland; it negotiated a separate agreement with Russell in May.

Previous agreements had been in place since the 1980s, but officials have said reductions in state funding and general financial hard times forced Greenup to look for ways to bring money into the district.

Whatever agreement the districts settle on will be good for the academic year and would have to be renegotiated or renewed for the following year.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.