Superintendent Bob Rowland said the district has tried hard to entice minorities.
"We try a number of things in order to recruit minority teachers," he said. "We participate in various recruiting events, we involve the local NAACP, we try to stay in contact with former minority staff and alumni. I think these are significant steps we take anytime there is an opening."
Rowland, who noted that the school system hired multiple minority teachers in the past year, said much of the problem is a lack of available applicants and not unwillingness to interview and offer jobs.
"I think public schools as a whole have to ask whether we are doing enough to interest minority students in becoming educators," he said.
"It is also extremely competitive, not just between school systems, but also between communities for these candidates. It is frankly hard to convince young people in general, including minorities, that they should live in a town this size with the kinds of social opportunities that exist here."
Garrard County Superintendent Ray Woolsey, whose district serves far fewer minority students, senses the same problem.
"We would like to include more minorities in our hiring process, and we do give special attention to pursuing those individuals," he said. "Unfortunately, it is difficult to get people who are not from this community to come here, and to stay here."
Mercer County Superintendent Bruce Johnson said the merger of Mercer County and Harrodsburg schools has made it imperative to recruit minority teachers.
"The merger has made it more apparent that we need to have more minority teachers, so we are working hard on that," he said. "If 4 percent of our students are minorities, our goal is to have a comparable percentage of minorities in positions to be role models for those students."
Norman Bartleson, head of the Danville NAACP chapter, confirmed that both Danville and Boyle County have reached out to his organization for help in identifying black candidates.
"There has been some outreach," he said. "(Danville and Boyle) both send us a fax whenever they have an opening, and they have asked us to accompany them to various events. Things have been moving, and that is good news."
Bartleson also agreed with the assessment that attracting minority teachers to the area can be difficult.
"Places like Florida can offer more sunshine, and other states nearby can offer more money or incentives, so it is a challenge," he said. "I think they've got to continue to make an effort and look at places like Kentucky State (University) that have more minorities."
The report acknowledges that the relatively low numbers of minorities in teacher preparation programs is one reason for the lag in employment numbers.
In the recommendations section, it also suggests that the state should take steps to provide extra motivation, such as tax incentives for minority teachers.
Boyle County Superintendent Steve Burkich agrees that more aggressive measures can be taken to get students interested in the teaching profession.
"I think we have to provide more incentives," he said.
"For instance, we could increase loan forgiveness when someone decides to pursue a job in education."
Boyle County and Burgin Independent, which have overwhelmingly white student bodies, were two of the 55 school systems that employed no minority teachers at the time of the report.
Burkich said that, regardless of its small minority numbers, staff diversity is valued by the district.
"You want to have the people who serve in the schools to be a mixture of society that will prepare students to exist and operate in the world," he said. "That can only add to the educational opportunities for our students."
To see the report, visit the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Web site at http://kchr.ky.gov/.