A one-room schoolhouse in Owensboro has been added to a national database of schools built for black children in the early 20th century.
The schoolhouse is in Pioneer Village at Yellow Creek Park. It was one of 5,357 public schools, manual training shops and teacher cottages built in the South with grants from the Rosenwald Fund between 1912 and 1932.
A total of 158 of them were built in 41 Kentucky counties.
Fisk University in Nashville maintains a database of Rosenwald Schools around the country.
Friends of Pioneer Village Executive Director Sean Dysinger told the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer the head of the project at Fisk thought the Owensboro school had been torn down, which is why it wasn't included on the list until now.
Ground will be broken Wednesday morning at the future site of the Hardin County Schools Early College and Career Center. The effort is a collaboration between the school system and WKU, and will allow high school students in the Hardin County system to take classes during the academic year that will transform into college credit from WKU, Elizabethtown Community and Technical College, or Sullivan University.
Hardin County Schools Superintendent Nannette Johnston says the Early College and Career Center is facing a strict construction deadline.
"I can sum it up in the one word: aggressive. Typically, we look at construction projects of this magnitude taking about 18 months. We want this project to be completed by August of 2014," Johnston told WKU Public Radio.
The Early College and Career Center will offer Hardin County students classes in fields such as engineering, manufacturing, automotive technology, media arts and communication, and culinary arts and hospitality services.
A ruling from the Kentucky Education Commission is expected in two weeks regarding how many students the Warren County school system will allow to attend Bowling Green city schools this school year.
A 2001 agreement between the districts set a cap on the number of transferring students. But last April, the county lowered that number by about 90 students. The state would not reimburse the Bowling Green district for students over that number, but they could still attend city schools at a cost of a little over $4,000 a year.
After a three day hearing on the matter wrapped up Saturday morning, Bowling Green school superintendent Joe Tinius told WKU Public Radio there is a slight financial aspect to the controversy but he sees it as a bigger issue, saying neither side would see a net profit from the final decision.
"That's not what education is all about," said Tinius. "This is more about an opportunity for parents to have a choice on where to send their children to school."
The last-minute nature of the county's decision is also causing city schools planning problems for hiring the right amount of staff for the coming school year. "We were already well into planning for the school year and had to back up and start all over again," Tinius said. "And now with a decision expected just a week before school starts, we have to be prepared for either scenario."
That means the policy will go into effect for all public school systems in the state within the next four years.
"It's an increased burden on the adults in the schools to not only make sure our students are engaged, but to ensure that they are learning and that we're meeting their needs," said Clayton, who came to Warren County after working in the Oldham County school system.
He told WKU Public Radio he thinks the increased dropout age will "raise the accountability level" for both students and educators, something he thinks will benefit all parties involved.
Ninety-six school boards across Kentucky have voted to raise the high school dropout age. The 96 districts put Kentucky at the 55% threshold needed to make the higher age mandatory statewide within four years.
A news release from the governor's office, dubbed the so-called 'Blitz to 96' a success.
“After five years of hard work by Commissioner Holliday, the First Lady and others to implement raising the compulsory graduation age to 18, I am overwhelmed by the support our school boards have shown by racing to adopt this policy,” said Gov. Beshear. “We know that keeping our students in school will not only offer them a better future, but will ensure that Kentucky has a better-trained, better-prepared workforce that will benefit the state for decades to come."
Legislation approved in this year's Kentucky General Assembly made adoption of the higher dropout age voluntary until 55 percent—or 96—of the state’s school districts adopt the policy. Since that threshold has been reached, the remainder of Kentucky’s 173 districts must now adopt the policy no later than the 2017-18 school year.