Non-Resident Hearing Between School Districts Ends

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) The school board battle over non-resident students continues as a hearing between Bowling Green and Warren County schools similar to the one that happened last year wraps up at the Warren County Justice Center where the final three witnesses testified.

The chairman of the Bowling Green Board of Education was first to take the stand.

He testified about the selection process at Bowling Green schools -- a priority system Warren County schools said isn't fair.

"We've had several forums in regards to this situation that we've been in since last year. I've been on the board since 2000 since this agreement and priority system has been adopted. Neither a board member or myself has ever received any complaints," said Michael Bishop, the chairman of Bowling Green Board of Education.

Warren County suggested a random draw in a past proposal, but Bishop said Bowling Green should be able to make the rules for its own district.

Jon Lawson, the director of pupil personnel for Bowling Green schools, was next to the take the stand in a numbers-driven testimony.

Bowling Green has 775 non-resident students, but he said it's within the 750 cap as they start the year below it for students who move and it averages out in the end.

"I just think it's the right thing to do, because we're trying to allow students to stay and not have their school year interrupted," Lawson said.

Warren County said going over that number at all is not abiding by the contract, and Bowling Green should return any SEEK money those additional students may have used.

Joe Tinius, the superintendent of Bowling Green schools, was the last to testify -- ultimately wanting to keep non-resident students.

"We asked that the hearing officer consider increasing the number from 750 to 761 based on the old agreement from 2001. So that's our request and hopes he will consider that when he makes his ruling," Tinius said.

Tinius said if the number is reduced, one of Bowling Green's five elementary schools eventually may be forced to close.

At the end of the day, both superintendents agreed they hope to reach a long-term agreement.

"Unfortunately, with certain situations it does take some time to work out the details and certainly make sure that our community is aware of all the facts and information. I think these three days of testimony accomplished that goal, which gives me great confidence to think that we can move forward," said Rob Clayton, the superintendent of Warren County Schools.

The hearing officer said he'll review briefs, which are due May 12th, and give a recommendation as soon as possible.

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