Harlan County, Independent School Districts negotiations continue

By: Paige Quiggins Email
By: Paige Quiggins Email

The Harlan County and Independent School Districts are trying to come to a mutual agreement on how many students can go to which school. County officials say they have not heard back from the independent school district on the latest proposed resolution.

In order for state funding to follow a student out of their district, both districts have to have what is known as a 'non-student' agreement. The Harlan County and Independent School Districts are trying to make this happen.

“Try to come up with a number as you could say commonly both of them can live with,” said Attorney Johnnie Turner, who represents the Harlan County School Board District.

“And if there's no agreement, the money goes nowhere,” said Sup. David Johnson of Harlan Independent schools.

Officials from the independent school district said that the county board wanted to decrease the amount of students who could attend their schools.

“The current proposal that was submitted to us, it included a restriction even on the number of students who could come paying tuition,” said Johnson.

The superintendent said he believes it should be a choice.

“We strongly believe, that's one of our core values, that families should be able to choose where they can get education for their children,” said Johnson.

Turner said that it would not be legally feasible for the choice to remain 100 percent to the students.

“You can't ever just say at least that you can legally allow that concept of just saying every kid can go where they want to, it goes outside of the legal parameters of what the state legislative body has said,” said Turner.

Officials from both parties say that they hope to come to an agreement amongst themselves... and not let it go any further. The question now is what number they both can agree on.

“I think every member on both groups hope that they can finally get a final solution to this that makes it beneficial,” said Turner.

The superintendent said that he echoes that sentiment.

“We are still hopeful that we are going to be able to negotiate and work through this,” said Johnson.

Johnson said officials from the board plan to make some more amendments to the resolution and hope to reach a final solution to avoid taking the matter to the Supreme Court. The last agreement was a 5-year contract and the one that is being looked into would be for 3 years.

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