School District Debate Has Been Settled

By: Julie Maloney
By: Julie Maloney

A long-term debate over where students can go to school in Harlan County is now settled.

After three years of controversy, both the Harlan County and city school boards held a special-called meeting Tuesday night to come to an agreement concerning whether students will have a choice which school they attend.

After three-years of debate concerning whether students in Harlan County can decide where they go to school, Tuesday night the city and county school boards decided that students will have a choice.

Harlan County Superintendent Tim Saylor says the board received a contract proposal from the city Monday night and called a special meeting for Tuesday.

"In my opinion these terms are not in the best interest of the school district, therefore I do not agree to these terms," Superintendent Saylor said.

Saylor asked members of the county board to take a few days and reconsider the contract, which outlined that up to 300 students in grades K-12 who reside in the county could attend the city school and up to 300 students who live in the city could attend the county school.

"We decided for the interest of both districts and all of Harlan County to come to an agreement," Gary Farmer said.

Both boards agreed on a five year-contract allowing up to 300 students from each school to attend the other, but every student above the 300 student cap will have to pay $2,400 to the district in which they live to attend a school in a district other than the one they live in.

Along with affirming this contract, the Harlan Independent Superintendent David Johnson says the board voted to deny the petition by the Evarts community to allow Evarts High School to stay open and become part of the city district.

"I think it's good for Harlan County. It will help educationally for the county children," Superintendent Johnson said.

The agreement will go into effect immediately and continuing through the 2010-2011 school year.

Members of both school boards say they've made this decision in the best interest of the community and the students.


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