School district broke law when it was open on election days, investigators say

File photo.
File photo. File photo

The Greenup County Public School district violated state law when it held classes on election days while a high school campus was used as a polling place, a Feb. 1 investigative report said.

The report from the Kentucky Office of Education Accountability, obtained by the Herald-Leader under the Kentucky Open Records Act, cited a state law that if a school in the district is used as a polling place, the school district shall be closed on the day of the election.

Those days may be used for professional development activities, professional meetings or parent teacher conferences. A district can stay open if no school in the district is being used as a polling place.

On Tuesday, November 6, 2018, the day of Kentucky’s general elections, the JROTC building at Greenup County High School was used as a polling place, the report said. Two precincts voted there, which means at least 1018 additional people, not including poll workers and people accompanying voters, came to the Greenup County High School campus that day.

The building is on school property within 75 feet of the main high school building and functions as a classroom, according to the report.

Greenup County normally has 850 students on a school day and voters had to compete for access to the area with student drivers, buses and parents dropping off students, the report said. Investigators noted a high volume of traffic, but not student safety or security concerns.

Students did not mix with voters because ROTC activities were moved to the main high school building, the report said. The district also held school on the day of the primary elections, Tuesday, May 22, 2018, the report states.

“The law and the violation are clear,” the report said. “Training on that law would not shine additional light on the problem, or on how to avoid a future violation. The district is cautioned to align its calendar and practices” with state law.

In response, Greenup County Superintendent Sherry Horsley said in an email that only one school in the district was used as a polling place. Horsley noted that the voting took place in a separate building on campus, not in the main high school building or adjacent to it.

“The county clerk is in the process of changing the polling place,” she said.