Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

January 25, 2013

Greenup board seeks changes in non-resident agreements

Mike James
The Independent

LLOYD — The Greenup County Board of Education on Thursday tightened requirements for families who want to send their children to other school districts.

The board hashed out proposals for non-resident student agreements in a meeting where they were closely watched by parents who want to send their children to other districts.

The board swiftly approved renewals, with no changes, of agreements with three districts — Boyd, Carter and Lewis counties —  that attract only a few Greenup students apiece. Most students who attend the three districts do so because they live on the fringes of the sprawling Greenup district and want to avoid long bus rides.

It took much longer to craft proposals for four other districts, Raceland-Worthington, Russell, Fairview and Ashland. The first two draw many more students from Greenup than the others — 195 to Raceland and 142 to Russell at last count — and few students living in those districts attend Greenup schools.

In the case of Fairview and Ashland, board members said there should be restrictions because they are not adjacent and choosing those districts was not a matter of transportation hardship.

The proposals the board settled on set separate caps on the number of Greenup students who may enroll in each district. They include grandfather clauses that will allow students currently enrolled in those districts to stay there, and provisions for children whose parents live in the Greenup district but work in other school systems.

All the proposals are contingent on coming to terms with the other districts. If that doesn’t happen, board chairwoman Kelly Adkins said, the two districts would try to work out their differences.

The grandfather clauses are based on where students are enrolled as of the meeting day — January 24. The caps in most cases are set somewhat higher.

However, the board plans to revisit the agreements each year and set the caps lower each time as grandfathered students graduate or otherwise leave the district.

The Raceland proposal would allow 195 students under the grandfather clause and sets the cap at 200. In Russell, 142 students are grandfathered in and the cap is 145.

Ashland will have 13 grandfathered students and a cap of 20. Fairview will have 10 and 10.

All the proposals were passed on separate votes and all passed by 3-2 margins. Board members Michael Heineman and Sue Miller voted against each of them while Adkins, Linda Wellman and Shirley Whitt voted in favor.

In a preliminary round of voting, Heineman and Miller voted in favor of renewing current agreements, which don’t include any restrictions, while Adkins, Wellman and Whitt voted against that proposal.

One point of contention was whether to make provisions for younger siblings of grandfathered students who have not yet reached school age. In the end, the board decided against it.

That was one of the main objections of at least one parent. “They’re splitting my kids up,” said Rob Hogsten, who has two children in the Raceland district and a 4-year-old who, under the new proposal, will have to attend Greenup schools.

Kentucky law provides for appeals to the state education commissioner if districts can’t come to an agreement, according to James W. Lyon Jr., the board’s attorney. In a letter to board members, Lyon said he believes the commissioner will take into account the academic standing of some Greenup schools and “the substantial and cost-prohibitive changes necessary were all currently out-of-district students required to return to the Greenup County School District in 2013-2014.”

The issue is important to the district because under current agreements, when students opt out of Greenup schools, state per-pupil funding follows them to their chosen school. At $3,833 per child, Greenup has been losing nearly $1.5 million per year.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or

(606) 326-2652.