Oxford School District approves agreement for ‘The Tech’

Published 9:29 am Wednesday, June 26, 2019

After months of negotiations and discussions, a contract has been agreed upon to operate the Oxford-Lafayette School of Applied Technology in a joint venture for one more year.

The Oxford School District Board of Trustees approved the latest version of the contract that was approved by the Lafayette County School Board earlier this month.

When LCSD received a draft from OSD to consider during their June 3 meeting, the only change that was requested was to include the name of the Tech director. Oxford’s school board had no issue and added director Joey Carpenter’s name to the agreement. The contract was approved during Monday’s regular board meeting.

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The contract will keep the school running under the control of the Tech Board, which will stay intact for the upcoming school year. Lafayette wanted a two-year agreement, but Oxford would not concede that request, as the board wanted to leave the consortium and begin Oxford’s own program. OSD superintendent Brian Harvey once again presented a resolution that would publicly announce the district’s intent to withdraw from the Tech.

The resolution was discussed during the May board meeting, but was tabled. The resolution passed during Monday’s meeting.

“I think it’s important to communicate to the public what our intentions are,” Harvey said. “We’ve talked about before the constraints we have being in the consortium as it exists. With reimbursement from the state department for certain positions that we currently have. This is not intended to be something  (where the district is saying) ‘We want out. We don’t want anything to do (with the school).’ It is an intent to say we don’t intend for the agreement to be as it is now.”

Harvey went on to say the school district will investigate further how to come up with a different arrangement to provide career-technical education for students who attend that facility. He said OSD will be adding some career and education courses at the high school. Harvey also expressed an interest in the school district still wanting to use the Tech building.

“Half of that property is ours, and we will need to continue utilizing that to the best of our ability,” Harvey said.

A timeline for a potential new arrangement needs to be finalized by “no later than January,” according to Harvey.