The Harlan County Board of Education has approved a reciprocal contract agreement for non-resident students with Leslie County but awaits a response from Letcher County.
State law requires districts to include no non-resident students in its average daily attendance unless they are covered by such an agreement with the district of residence. The agreements allow the district educating the child to receive funding for their attendance.
Currently, Harlan County Schools has a one-year contract with Leslie County and a multi-year contract with Letcher County. Both agreements expire at the end of this school year.
Leslie County currently has 17 residents attending school in the Harlan County district, with two Harlan County residents attending in Leslie County. Letcher County has 43 students attending in Harlan County, with 36 from Harlan going to school in Letcher.
“Currently (Letcher County) will not answer us,” said Gary Farmer, chairman of the Harlan County Board. “They will not respond to us and we have no contract at all (to discuss).”
The proposed agreement with Letcher County includes a grandfather clause for existing non-resident students, but no further details have been discussed due to a lack of response, according to Brett Johnson, director of pupil personnel for Harlan County.
Leslie County “is fine,” Johnson added. Their only request is that the number of non-resident students be capped at 20.
The agreement includes requirements that the non-resident students have no failing grades in any subject, have no disciplinary matters involving in-school or out-of-school suspensions, and that they not be truant with no more than three unexcused days or three unexcused tardies. Also, Harlan County Schools will not be required to provide home-based or hospital-based instructional services to students in another county.
With regard to Letcher County, Farmer told board members the school district may be left with one choice given the short amount of time remaining to reach agreement. That would be to file an appeal to the state commissioner of education.
In other business, the board was provided a calendar highlighting events for the remainder of the school year:
* April 26 – HCHS Band, Choir, Jazz Band and Concert Band concert in the high school auditorium
* May 12 – HCHS Prom at The Harlan Center
* May 13 – Graduation at the HCHS gymnasium.