Mercer may turn away 50 out-of-district students

August 06, 2003|ANN R. HARNEY

HARRODSBURG - About 50 students have been told they may not be able to attend school in the Mercer County School District because of overcrowding.

The students live in other school districts, but, for various reasons, attend school in the Mercer County system.

Superintendent Bruce Johnson said most of the students who have been notified are middle school students and most come from the Harrodsburg school district. He said that while they have been notified they may not be able to attend King Middle School, some may be recalled.

"They have been asked to wait until our registration is over and as we have room, we'll recall them," he said.

At the end of the school day Tuesday, there were 727 enrolled in the middle school that was built for an optimum enrollment of 650-700.


The 727 figure includes 10 students playing on a baseball trip in Indiana, but whom school officials know will be in the school at the end of the tournament. Eight high school students also are on the team.

"We've got to take care of our own first," Johnson said. "For the ones who live here, it is a right (to attend Mercer County schools,) but for the others, it's a privilege."

Some parents taking drastic measures

Some parents have taken what may seem to be drastic measures to be sure their children will be able to enroll in the Mercer County system. At least one family has moved into the county district. Another family has given custody rights of a child to a relative who lives in the county school district.

Other families are faced with having one child from out of the district who cannot attend Mercer County schools while his sibling is allowed to stay.

Johnson explains that one child's class or school my be overcrowded while the other child's class is not overcrowded. Grades one, three, five, six, seven, nine and 11 are full throughout the system.

The Mercer schools have another situation that makes it difficult for out-of-district children. Harrodsburg and Mercer County have a contract in which each district will take up to 105 students from the other.

If the number of students goes over 105, and the state refuses to pay the adopted school system for the attendance of an additional student, it is likely the student will have to return to his home county.

"We can't afford to educate them without state funding," Johnson said.

Some other students may get special consideration. "We tend not to transfer special-needs children, especially severely handicapped students," Johnson said.

"If we have a program for a Harrodsburg or Burgin student that their home district does not have, we try to work that out for them."

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