Commonwealth Journal

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April 26, 2014

Science Hill to appeal student contracts

Science Hill —

The Science Hill Board of Education has decided to file an appeal to the state education commissioner in the ongoing saga with the Pulaski County School District over non-resident pupils. 
At a special-called meeting on Friday, the board opted to join the Somerset Independent School District in their chosen course of action to seek a resolution in their mutual dispute with the larger county school system.
Three of the five board members were present — Renny Smith, Skip Norfleet, and Tim Vanderploeg  and they were unanimous in voting to follow the appeals process.
“There’s not much left for us to do,” said Smith. “It was the only avenue left for us to pursue the system of school choice that’s been in place that’s allowed students to choose from any of the fantastic schools in the three systems.
“Families across the county have been able to choose a school based on their specific needs ,” he added. “We hate to see that coming to an end. An appeal is one of the only options remaining for us to try to preserve that choice.”
The move comes after the Pulaski County Board of Education rejected a contract proposal by Science Hill that would allow any and all students currently living within the boundaries of the county school district to attend Science Hill, the K-8 one-facility district located in northern Pulaski County, and vice versa.
In mid-January, the Pulaski County School Board approved contracts that would disallow any students living within the boundaries of the county district to attend school at either Somerset or Science Hill, unless they were siblings with a student that was already enrolled at one of the other systems. This would be applicable for the upcoming 2014-15 school year.
Last year, Pulaski County enacted such a contract with Science Hill, after years of allowing 172 non-resident pupils to attend the northern Pulaski K-8 school. However, in prior years, Somerset has been allowed 240 county territory students, so this was a drastic change for the city school district.

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