"There are some issues in the commissioner's decision that ought to be considered by the state board," said David Johnson, superintendent of the Harlan Independent Schools.
Wilhoit, who handed down his ruling in December, allowed those who currently attend the city schools to remain. The ruling prevents funding from following any new students from the county district wishing to join the system after this year.
The county and city schools agreed in 2001 to a grandfather contract that allowed current non-resident students, their siblings and the children of city school employees to attend city schools with state funding.
The county district decided to exclude the children of part-time city district employees in this year's contract, and the city board declined the proposal. For several months, the city school board petitioned the county board to work out a contract on which both could agree, but county officials favored keeping the 2001 agreement. The city district then voted to appeal to the state.
Johnson said the primary motivation for rejecting the ruling was the long-term ramifications of the decision.
He also said the decision, as it stands, also limits parents in the choices they can make for their child's education.
The commissioner's ruling was consistent with other decisions over the past decade regarding non-resident contracts between county and city districts.
The Harlan Independent District provided a list of current non-resident students to the state department of education shortly before the Thanksgiving holiday last year. The action, Johnson said, was part of the appeal process.
In his letter, Wilhoit also said the number of Harlan County School District students who attend the Harlan Independent School District under a contractual agreement which transfers funding will be reduced each year by the number of graduates in that year. He said the ruling pertained to the county school district as well.
Harlan County Schools Superintendent Tim Saylor said he was pleased with the commissioner's ruling.