The Harlan County School System has agreed to contract terms with the Harlan Independent School District regarding the enrollment and funding of non-resident students for the next two years.
The proposed contract was approved by the Harlan County Board of Education during a recent regular meeting.
Under the new agreement, both districts are authorized to enroll up to 195 students residing in the other district next year and up to 185 the following year, after which the contract comes up for renewal again. Those limits, however, are qualified by several conditions evidenced by current numbers.
According to county school officials, as of the end of the 2015-16 school year, a total of 284 county residents attended the city school district, with 61 city residents going to county schools.
The new agreement allows each district to enroll the siblings of their non-resident students as well as the children of full-time employees, none of whom will be counted against the maximum allowable number of non-resident students.
In addition, both districts may accept up to 25 tuition-paying non-resident students each year beyond the enrollment limit with each district limited to collecting no more than $1,500 per student per year.
Lastly, the superintendents are allowed by mutual agreement to address “extenuating circumstances (that) may occur in which a student may benefit from a change of enrollment to the other district.” These students would not be required to pay tuition and also would not count against the established limit.
State law requires public school districts to enter into these types of contracts in order to receive state and federal funding. Otherwise, the state board of education or court system would impose terms and allocate the funding at their discretion.
The county school board also approved their tentative budget for the coming year, which is built around general fund expectations of just over $5 million in local revenue and nearly $19.2 million in state revenue.
Other funds restricted to state and federal programs like food service, special education and debt service on the district’s bonds total another $8 million.
Superintendent Mike Howard told the board his expectations were the state would increase their allotment through the SEEK formula due to the district’s improvement in average daily attendance from the prior year.
Also, he said, the financial condition of the district had improved since January so planned expense cuts of nearly $600,000 would not be needed and the school system would finish the year easily meeting the two-percent-of-budget contingency fund required by the state.
The board agreed to participate in a matching fund provided by Kentucky Utilities that would fund an energy savings project to replace all the lighting in the gymnasiums at the high school and James A. Cawood elementary with more efficient LED technology.
The project will require a total of $30,000 from the district and will be carried out in two phases. The dollars for this project will come from energy savings already realized by the district from other projects during the year, Howard said.
The board also agreed to renew their insurance coverage for commercial liability and property with Wright Specialty Insurance in the amount of $353,000. Howard said the district was “lucky to get it. It’s a very fair quote.”
Board members briefly discussed and approved purchasing new trucks from a Louisville dealer. Three vehicles will be added to the maintenance fleet replacing models that are 12 years old or older. Howard said no local bids were received and that the district would need a couple more similar vehicles next year for the transportation department.
Their plan, Howard said, is to replace these types of vehicles a few at a time to prevent a large expense in any single year and to keep maintenance costs for them down.
In other action, the board:
• Awarded diplomas to veterans Johnny Mack Johnson and Wallace Prince;
• Heard a report of $1.7 million in scholarships that were awarded to local students during the high school’s recent Scholarship Night event;
• Presented high school art student Julia Gabbard with the Superintendent’s Teamwork Award for a banner she created and displayed by the Kentucky School Boards Association;
• Accepted the report of a food service review by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture for the district office and James A. Cawood Elementary School;
• Heard the superintendent’s employment report of seven certified retirements and 17 layoffs associated with coaching positions that would be refilled the following year, along with one classified termination;
• Recognized five students for their achievements as the high school’s Community Problem-Solving Team who will be traveling with their staff sponsor, Virginia Rice, to Michigan in June for an international competition;
• Approved payment of claims totaling $473,722.08;
• Approved the monthly financial report;
• Approved an agreement to accept student teaching placements and field placements from Midway University;
• Approved a procurement plan for School Food Services for 2016-17;
• Approved payment for school food service employees food handlers permits;
• Agreed to advertise for bids for food service equipment;
• Agreed to advertise for bids for prepared and delivered pizza to all schools;
• Approved the use of excess FSPK funds for purchase of greenhouse for the high school agriculture program;
• Declared as surplus old school buses, pickup trucks and van, and accept sealed bids for their disposal;
• Declared food service office equipment as surplus with no monetary value;
• Approved classified and certified job descriptions for 2016-17;
• Approved the substitute teaching list for 2016-17;
• Agreed to advertise for bids for transportation department vehicles;
• Agreed to advertise for bids for the maintenance supplies and materials;
• Declared old Cumberland elementary clocks as surplus with no monetary value and approved disposal;
• Approved the purchase of scoreboards for elementary/middle schools for baseball, soccer, softball and football;
• Approved a request for the high school Talent Search program to visit Carson Newman University on May 30 and June 3, to Harrogate on July 3, and to New York City via charter bus on July 8;
• Approved a 240-day agriculture teacher position at the high school at an approximate cost of $60,000;
• Approved 2016-7 certified salary schedules;
• Approved 2016-17 classified salary schedule;
• Approved the 2016-17 extra service pay scale;
• Approved the 2016-17 substitute salary scale;
• Renewed the service contract with Dayspring Counseling;
• Approved participation in the Elgin Foundation dental program;
• Approved the 2016-17 staffing allocation;
• Agreed to the settlement terms of a civil case involving the contractors and architect of the high school project;
• Held a brief executive session to discuss pending litigation.