Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

May 21, 2013

Boards close to agreement on students

One-year deal would allow younger siblings to attend Russell

Mike James
The Independent

LLOYD — The Greenup and Russell school districts are close to an agreement on families that want to send their children to school out of their own district.

The districts and their attorneys met last Wednesday and hammered out an agreement both boards were to vote on Monday.

However, the Greenup board didn’t vote because members hadn’t yet been given copies of the final agreement.

The one-year agreement would allow the 142 students whose families live in the Greenup district and who already are attending Russell schools to remain at Russell, plus it would allow their younger siblings to attend Russell once they reach school age.

The sibling issue had been the sticking point in earlier negotiations; Russell wanted siblings included so that families could send all their children to school in the same district, while Greenup resisted because its board wants district enrollment to increase.

Non-resident student agreements govern the number of students from one district that can attend another.

Most Kentucky districts have the agreements with neighboring districts; some agreements allow unlimited numbers of students to attend out of district while others limit the number.

Under the agreements, children who switch districts take state per-pupil aid, which currently amounts to nearly $4,000 per year, with them.

Greenup, which has been struggling financially, objected to the Russell agreement because only a few Russell students came to Greenup, resulting in a net loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The settlement was good news to Russell board chairwoman Judy Ledford. “I feel really good about it. We just couldn’t separate those families. That’s not right,” she said.

The Greenup board will take up the issue again at its next meeting when members have seen the final agreement and the board is likely to agree, chairwoman Kelly Adkins said. “It sounds like there was a consensus,” she said. “I’m pleased to be able to come to an agreement that is best for both districts.

Only one Greenup sibling would be attending Russell next year under the proposed agreement, and there are less than a dozen in the district, according to Adkins.

The agreement is good for one year only, and both boards will have to revisit the issue next year.

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