Commonwealth Journal

Local News

February 12, 2014

Science Hill & Somerset schools reject contracts

County School Board wants to limit non-resident tradition in effort to preserve state funding

(Continued)

Somerset —

• The proposed contract language is inequitable in that Pulaski County Schools may add Somerset resident students without limitation and at its discretion, but not vice-versa.
• The proposed contract contains language that implies that the Somerset Independent Schools might discriminate against Special Needs students. Administrative assurances, as well as state and federal statutes make this an unnecessary component. Inclusion of such language implies conditions that do not exist.
• The proposed contract contains language that would require the Somerset Independent School District to accept an unnecessary and burdensome role in verifying guardianship residency when duly authorized by a local court.
• The proposed contract contains language that is no longer applicable due to a recent ruling by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals; and the proposed contract contains language that implies the Pulaski County School System will permit children of the Somerset Independent School System employees that live in the Pulaski County Schools district to attend Somerset, even though that issue is addressed and provided for through state legislation, HB 182 (passed in 2013).
“The Somerset Independent School District continues to be committed to supporting these students and their families,” read the statement. “Because the Pulaski County Board of Education, through the proposed student exchange contract, is seeking to limit and eventually end this opportunity for its residents the Somerset Independent Board of Education cannot ratify the student exchange contact proposed by the Pulaski County Board of Education.”
Randolph said that he spoke to Pulaski County Supt. Steve Butcher on Wednesday afternoon about the matter and that the conversation was “cordial,” with the aim of hopefully being able to work out the situation without going to legal mediation — which could be the ultimate outcome with all three school systems.
When asked about the conversation, however, Butcher’s words made an agreement between the city and county schools sound less likely.

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