Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

January 24, 2013

Board to decide on nonresident agreements

Allowing students to go to other school costing Greenup thousands in state funding

Mike James
The Independent

LLOYD — Greenup school officials are expected to decide today whether to renew agreements that enable students to enroll in other districts, or seek changes in them, or cancel them entirely.

The school board has been grappling with the issue for several months now because the agreements are costing the district hundreds of thousands of dollars in state funding.

The agreements, called nonresident contracts, are made between districts so that when students living in one district enroll in another, the state per-pupil funding follows the student.

Usually the number of students enrolling out of district is offset by a roughly equal number of students coming in from other districts, Greenup Superintendent Steve Hall said. The typical student crossing district lines has a parent who works in the other district or some other reason of convenience for changing, he said.

For instance, there are a few students living in the Greenup district who attend Carter and Lewis county schools because their homes are much closer to those schools.

However, at last count there were 423 Greenup students enrolled in other districts and only 43 out-of-district students in Greenup schools.

At $3,833 of state funding each, that comes to nearly $1.5 million per year flowing out of Greenup.

Of the students leaving the district, 210 go to Raceland-Worthington and 145 to Russell schools, Hall said.

Students are opting out for a number of reasons, he said, among them convenience, child care, athletics and academics. Some may have left because of Greenup County High School’s designation about two years ago as a persistently low-achieving school.

The high school has made significant improvements since then, he said. “If they look at the high school they will see a completely new, comprehensive educational plan there.”

Whether the board will insist on changing the agreements, which it currently has with all the surrounding districts, is uncertain. “I’m not clear whether the board has come to a consensus or not,” Hall said.

No standard formula exists for the agreements. Some districts make them on a student-for-student basis, allowing only as many students to enroll at a neighboring district as come from that district.

Without an agreement, students can enroll in another district only with that district’s consent, and typically will have to pay tuition, said Kentucky Department of Education spokeswoman Nancy Rodriguez.

Disagreements can result in litigation; there is an appeals process with the Kentucky Department of Education and the state Board of Education and ultimately the courts.

A tuition structure would most likely reflect the state funding amount, Hall said.

The board will meet at 4 p.m. today at the high school.

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