Commonwealth Journal

News Live

February 25, 2014

Furor continues over schools’ non-resident contract

Randolph: Litigation not Somerset’s ‘first choice’

Somerset —

 
Local school administrators are continuing to discuss the controversy over the county school system’s decision to drastically amend its non-resident pupil contact with the city district.
The Somerset Independent Schools Board of Education will meet on Tuesday to discuss potential litigation against the Pulaski County School System regarding the issue.
Most of the discussion is expected to take place in executive session, with the public unable to be privy to what’s said. However, Somerset Superintendent Boyd Randolph noted that it is possible the board could vote to retain legal counsel for the purpose of pursing an appeal to the state’s education commissioner depending on how the talks come out.
“Essentially, we’re going to discuss where we’re at,” said Randolph. “If we can’t get it worked out (with the county schools), we’ll appeal to the commissioner for a resolution.”
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 School, 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.
Randolph said that litigation would “not be my first choice,” and he is hopeful the matter can be resolved without going that route.
However, “there has been some discussion with the county district leadership about sitting down and talking about the matter,” he said. “As of right now, we haven’t been able to do that. We haven’t been able to come together.”

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