Oxford School District discusses latest changes to “The Tech” agreement

Published 8:00 am Friday, January 10, 2020

Following Lafayette County’s school board’s changes to the latest draft of the School of Applied Technology on Monday, Oxford School District’s Board of Trustees discussed those changes on Wednesday.

A special meeting was called on Tuesday by the OSD school board to examine what changes were made by Lafayette due to impending deadlines looming for next year’s school term.

The biggest issue Oxford’s board had with the specific proposals was the allocation of space and buildings at The Tech.

Email newsletter signup

In Lafayette’s latest proposal, they would get “exclusive use” of three workshop spaces and one classroom, while Oxford would have use of two classrooms and a remaining workshop space. A graphic, presented to the board by Oxford school superintendent Brian Harvey during their meeting, roughly estimated that Lafayette would have access to over 25,000 square feet and Oxford would have access to 8,500 square feet in the latest proposal.

“My recommendation to you is we mark this agreement back up and divide the space accordingly,” Harvey said to the Board. “That doesn’t necessarily mean the courses necessarily change, but we do need to have a way to choose the courses. The space, the Oxford School District owns half of that property and half of that building. … In my view, the space is what we need.”

After a lengthy discussion, the Board agreed to a counter proposal wherein each school district would have control of one building, or two workshops, each along with a shared space.

The issue of cross-enrollment was also a topic during the meeting, and trying find a way that students from both districts can get equal time in all programs offered. Matching both schools’ bell schedules had been previously proposed, but has since been acknowledged to be a difficult goal to achieve for several reasons.

The class schedule at the Tech has coincided with Lafayette’s bell schedule exclusively, Dr. Steve Hurdle told the board during Wednesday’s meeting. Hurdle is Oxford’s director of Career Technical Education and helps oversee their district’s programs at the Tech.

“It’s been demonstrated this year and years prior that our students don’t necessarily have equal access to the programs,” Hurdle said. “Several of (Lafayette’s) teachers drive school buses, which means they have to leave at a certain time and they arrive at a certain point. There may be a way, but I don’t see a way to say to them, ‘No, you’ve got to release all the classes for times that our kids can come.'”

Hurdle went on say that having access to the shop-based programs that it would assure their students would have full access to those programs.

Oxford also made a proposal change where each district would have an administrator on site who could handle disciplinary issues. Their suggested jurisdiction for each administrator included the district’s own students, as well as students from either district taking classes that they controlled.

The latest changes in the agreement will be negotiated between each school district’s lawyers. The SAT Board meets again on Jan. 14.