By Jeff Noble, Staff Writer
The Kentucky Board of Education has agreed to uphold Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday’s decision in July on the non-resident student agreement between the Corbin Independent Schools and the Knox County Public Schools for the 2012-2013 school year.
In the decision made Monday, the state board agreed with Holliday’s ruling, which said the Knox district’s rejecting “any and all non-resident student agreement proposed by Corbin” was “not arbitrary and capricious as a matter of law” under a section of the state Constitution.
The KBE had considered an appeal of the non-resident contract during a two-day study session in Frankfort, which was held Monday and Tuesday.
At this week’s meeting, the state board agreed to consider only the documentation that’s related to the non-resident contract request by the Corbin district. That was the result of a state education department action taken in August, in which they decided not to hear oral arguments, but just the documentation.
Holliday said in his decision on July 18 that no additional non-resident students shall be enrolled under the non-resident agreement (with SEEK funds allocated for the student) by either district for the current school year. “Non-resident students not currently enrolled in either district may be enrolled in the non-resident district if the receiving district agrees and if established tuition payments are enforced by the receiving district.”
In his decision nearly three months ago, Holliday recommended both superintendents and the chairpersons and vice-chairpersons of both Corbin Independent Schools (CIS) and Knox County Public Schools (KCPS) districts participate in a formal mediation on the issue, in preparation for the 2012-13 non-resident student agreement. He said the costs of mediation would be shared equally by both districts, and should occur on or before Sept. 1 of this year.
Holiday also stated the Knox County district “had been losing students to CIS at a disproportionate rate,” and that the Knox board “has a duty to educate those students that live in its school district who may not have the option of exercising an option to attend” the Corbin school district.
Corbin Independent voted to appeal Holliday’s decision at a special board meeting on July 31.
It was the third time the Corbin district appealed to the state after the Knox County Schools rejected the agreement. In 2009, Knox County ended the contract allowing students living in that county to attend Corbin schools at no cost.