For the third time, a ruling has come down from the state supporting the Bowling Green city school district in their ongoing fight with the Warren County school district over the number of county students allowed to attend city schools with state funding. The Kentucky Board of Education voted Tuesday to uphold Education Commissioner Terry Holliday's previous ruling.
But, in making their ruling, the Board ordered both districts to do more negotiating over the number of students that would be acceptable to both districts with a report on their progress due back to the Board in December.
Holliday's decision that the Board upheld ruled that Bowling Green could enroll 750 Warren County students this school year.
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."