Kentucky will have one less school district with this decision to close and merge

The Silver Grove Independent School board on Monday voted to close and merge with Campbell County.
The Silver Grove Independent School board on Monday voted to close and merge with Campbell County.

Kentucky will have one fewer school district — down to 172 — as a result of the Silver Grove Independent School board’s decision on Monday to close.

Silver Grove Independent Superintendent Dennis Maines on Tuesday confirmed that “there was a four (to) one vote to initiate the merge” with the Campbell County School district in Northern Kentucky.

“But there are multiple steps that go along with this process,” said Maines.

Campbell County Superintendent David Rust said his school board will vote at its next meeting on whether to accept the merger.

“We are willing to merge, but the conditions have to be right,” said Rust. “The devil is in the details. We have to make sure we are able to provide a solid education for both our kids and any kids we take in through the merger.”

The Silver Grove school board issued a statement shortly before noon Tuesday that said that in addition to voting on the merger, the school board also voted 3-2 in favor of approving a tentative merger agreement with one caveat: Silver Grove wants its qualified, certified personnel to be granted an interview for vacant positions in the Campbell County district.

In addition, Silver Grove board member Melanie Pelle raised concern about the agreement, which requires that all Silver Grove board members relinquish their seats upon finalization of the merger, the statement said. Pelle believes that state law guarantees her a seat on the merged board for the remainder of her term and she said she will not relinquish her seat on the board, the statement said.

The River City News has reported that the Silver Grove school district has battled low enrollment and low test scores.

According to the Kentucky Department of Education website, the Silver Grove district in the 2017-18 school year had one school building that served 163 students in preschool through 12th grade. Campbell County Schools had 4,793 students in eight schools, the website said.

Eric Kennedy, governmental relations director for the Kentucky School Boards Association, said Saturday in a Twitter post that “locally elected school boards make extremely difficult decisions at every meeting, sometimes incl. decisions re: merger.”