Lafayette County School District approves latest draft agreement for “The Tech”

Published 5:37 pm Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The ongoing tennis match regarding the School of Applied Technology continues between both Lafayette County and Oxford School Districts.

During their January meeting on Monday, the Lafayette County school board approved the latest version of an interlocal agreement between the two school districts for the 2020-2021 school year. The version approved on Monday had minor changes made by LCSD attorney Shea S. Scott, which were requested by the school board.

In December, the OSD Board of Trustees approved their latest draft of the agreement, which has been a topic of negotiation, debate and discussion for nearly a year. While discussing the agreement, the Oxford school board also added what was essentially an ultimatum, stating they would begin the process of appraising their property on the Tech campus to potentially sell it off to recoup money.

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Changes made to the agreement were mostly to specify exactly what each district would be in charge of, or which classrooms would be under their control at the school. Each district agreed to split classrooms in the latest proposal, and Scott changed the language in paragraph one to state Lafayette would be given “full and exclusive use of the three shop areas and one classroom space previously utilized” during the current school term.

Those spaces currently house the Automotive Service Technology, Construction/Carpentry, Welding I and Health Sciences programs. Oxford will have “full and exclusive use” of the remaining shop area and two classroom spaces.

No changes were made regarding the dissolution of the Tech board, and the building will be operated on a shared basis “for the benefit of the students of both school districts.” Each district will be allowed to use their designated spaces of the building to provide whatever instructional programming they deem appropriate to its educational mission.

Cross-enrollment will be allowed for students of Oxford and Lafayette school districts to sign up for classes offered by the other district. There had been discussions to try and align bell schedules of each high school to help allow the most classroom time possible at the SAT for all students, but it was too difficult to come up a beneficial plan, according to the districts.

“From my discussions with Oxford’s attorney, everybody recognizes that’s difficult,” Scott told the Board. “Due to the difference of the bell schedules and the academic calendar, but everybody thinks that it’s in the best interest of the students to try and make it work as best you can; understanding that in some situations it just may not.”

The programs that will be allocated to each school district were also specified in Lafayette’s updated proposal. Automotive Service Technology, Construction/Carpentry, Welding I and Health Sciences will be allocated to Lafayette, while Oxford will have Software Pathway, Teacher Academy and a currently open program not yet designated.

“Those are where our highest student populations are from Lafayette,” said Lafayette school superintendent Dr. Adam Pugh of the district’s program allocations.

Oxford also proposed and agrees to pay Lafayette half of any portion of the administrator’s salary and benefits that is not reimbursed by a vocational reimbursement.

Lafayette’s latest draft of the proposal was approved by the school board and was sent to Oxford’s school board on Tuesday and will be discussed, and voted for approval or not, during a special meeting on Wednesday that was called Tuesday evening.