Commissioner rules on Harlan school agreement

By Kendall Downing | 

The state education commissioner makes a decision about a reciprocal agreement between two Harlan County school districts.

The ruling lays out a tentative set of plans in the Harlan Independent Schools versus Harlan County Schools nonresident agreement.

Next year's agreement will keep all students where they are this year. Siblings and children of full-time faculty members are grandfathered in.

Any nonresident student that wants to change districts will have to pay tuition.

"We knew that was going to be the ruling," said Johnnie Turner, attorney for Harlan County Schools.

"What we had proposed was to continue our current contract as it is. That's what we would prefer," said David Johnson, Superintendent of Harlan Independent Schools.

The current contract was the issue. Harlan County Schools did not support it.

"When there was the five-year contract, it went from Harlan Independent going one way, to the county going the other way significantly," said Turner.

The recent ruling only settles the matter for next year.

"This is only for one year. It is not a long-term solution; it does not fix the problem," said Johnson.

The commissioner urged both school districts to participate in mediation to come up with a plan for the future.

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