Commonwealth Journal

Local News

January 17, 2013

22 non-resident students caught in contract dispute

Students at Science Hill may find themselves in county district

Somerset —  

Twenty-two students find themselves caught in a contractual tug-of-war between the county’s largest and smallest public school systems following Tuesday’s meeting of the Pulaski County Board of Education.
Board members were asked to vote on approving the terms of the non-resident pupil contracts with Somerset Independent Schools, Adair County Schools, and Science Hill School. The contract allows a certain number of students who live in what would be county school district territory to enroll in another school system. 
Though the Somerset and Adair contracts remained unchanged — and were approved by the board — the contract with Science Hill became the source of debate, as it would be lowered: 150 students from the Pulaski County area could attend Science Hill, instead of the previous total of 172.
This contract was not approved by the board, which found itself in a 2-2 split: New board members Michael Citak and Brandy Daniels voted against the change, while incumbents Cindy Price and Jim Wilson voted for the contract as presented. Board member Edwin Sellers was absent.
As such, the board agreed to table the matter for future consideration. 
Steve Butcher, Superintendent of Pulaski County Schools, told the Commonwealth Journal that there have been “discussions about lowering” the number, but that “we’re just in the talking stages” currently.
“We’ve got to have more discussion about it to see what the overall good is for our district, as well as Science Hill,” he said. “... I can’t say what will happen.”
The advantage to keeping more kids for Pulaski is a financial one. 
“We get paid for every child that goes here,” said Butcher. “The advantage to us (to keep more students) would be more dollars.
“The decision will have to be made: Do they go to that district and they get the money, or come to our district and we get the money?”

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