The Bowling Green Independent School District Monday night introduced new elements in their ongoing negotiations with the Warren County School District over the number of non-city residents who can attend city schools.
The school systems don't have an agreement about how many county-resident students the city will accept, and are trying to reach a contract under orders from Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday.
The Bowling Green Daily News reports the city's plan includes a reduction from 750 non-resident students to 650 over ten years. Non-resident students would be admitted on a first come, first served basis. Siblings of students would be admitted, 60% of the remaining spots would be filled by kindergarteners based on application date, and the final 40% on grades 1 - 12 based on date of application.
The non-resident agreement is key to a school district receiving Support Education Excellence in Kentucky (SEEK) funding for out-of-district students.
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.
The Warren County Public School system has a new superintendent.
The Warren County Board of Education Tuesday night named Rob Clayton to succeed the retiring Tim Murley. Clayton has been the principal of South Oldham Middle School in Crestwood, KY for the past seven years. He's been in education for 20 years including the past 13 in administration.
Clayton says his three main goals are insuring the safety of students, assuring all students learn at a high level and that all graduates are ready for college or a career.
Clayton was one of three finalist the Warren County board interviewed. Board Chairman Kerry Young said Clayton stood out because of his leadership qualities.