Parental choice contracts further in Kentucky

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It’s ironic. As Jim Waters prepares to battle opponents of school choice in Kentucky this evening, one of the very limited choice opportunities available in this state is taking another hit.

Kentucky lacks charter schools, leaving poor parents in the state very few options in choosing the school their child attends.

Even selection of a residence doesn’t always work, as the outrageous bussing mess in Louisville and sometimes controversial school rezoning in other places has made abundantly clear.

In most cases, unless a family is wealthy, the local school board dictates where the children must go to school.

There are few exceptions. Historically, one of those has been that some school districts negotiated agreements where students of one district could elect to attend schools in another, normally adjoining district.

But, times are a-changing.

Fueled by a seemingly insatiable appetite for money and, maybe, power, more and more school districts are revoking their transfer agreements. When that happens, parents often must pay hefty “tuition” fees if they want to continue to send their child to an out of district school. For the poor, this choice option vanishes, and it just vanished again in Knox County.

The latest transfer agreement to bite the dust was between the Knox County Public Schools and the Corbin Independent School district.

The Times Tribune reports that agreement is now completely dead. Even kids currently taking advantage of the old rule will be forced to change schools next year or pay a hefty $1,200 per year tuition. Grandfathering is not alive and well, here.

A strange point is that when students do pay tuition, the state support dollars don’t continue to flow to the district where their home is located. That money is gone. Of course, this option is only available to the wealthy. The poor fall prey to the district avarice.

By the way, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why parents in Knox County might prefer Corbin schools. I took a quick look at the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) performance of the two high schools in Knox County and the single high school in Corbin.

Corbin isn’t in sanctions status under NCLB but both the Knox County schools are.

Corbin only failed to make adequate yearly progress in one area, math performance for low income kids in the free/reduced cost lunch program.

Both Knox County high schools failed in multiple areas in math. Furthermore, the Lynn Camp High School in Knox County failed for every single accountable group in reading, as well.

Any Knox County parent with a choice would be foolish not to want the Corbin system, instead. Now, they will have to spend a lot of money to keep that better option for their kids.

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