Three parents and one graduate were each given three minutes to speak to the Elizabethtown Independent Schools Board of Education on possibly changing the district’s grading scale.
Dr. Shawn Sizemore, a member of Elizabethtown High School’s site-based decision-making council and E’town parent, told the board Monday the district’s current five-point grading scale is creating a disparity for four-year tuition assistance, among other financial implications.
Sizemore said as an example a 93 grade point average for an E’town student would amount to $16,000 in merit scholarships at Western Kentucky University. At Hardin County Schools, a student with the same average would receive a $32,000 scholarship.
He also said those who receive an 82 point average at EIS would not meet admission requirements at WKU, University of Kentucky and would receive $0 in KEES money, as another example. Sizemore said he wants the grading scale changed to create a balance and level the playing field for E’town students.
Lisa Hornback, parent, substitute teacher and Beta Club sponsor, said she is a real estate agent. She told the board a story about how she showed an Italian immigrant family looking for a house in the EIS district.
However, she said after they learned about the district’s grading scale, they decided to look for a house elsewhere.
Vickie Shearer, teacher and parent at T.K. Stone Middle School, told the board she remembers ever since they came to the district that some teachers were against changing the scale based on the idea of having to lower standards. However, she said the financial aspect is a large part of it since it could affect a student’s college prospects.
“I just feel we are making it more difficult for most students,” she said. “We really aren’t doing them a favor by holding it so high.”
Callie Hornback, who graduated from the district in 2019, said when she visited Campbellsville University, along with other university representatives, they had said to her that the district’s grading scale ultimately would put her at a disadvantage when it came to financial aid.
Hornback said she missed out on KEES and scholarship money, and has had to take out loans.
Hornback said she feels the grading scale should be changed, despite its connection to tradition. She said traditions are meant to be changed.
“This grading scale made me lack confidence in academic abilities,” Hornback said.
After the meeting, Superintendent Kelli Bush said she appreciates those who spoke.
Bush said the grading scale is revisited every few years and said nearly every time the board has looked and researched the scale, since working in the district since 1999, the board consistently has said it is not something that they wanted to change.
“At this point, we’ll look into it, and … feel how the board wants to move forward with it,” she said.
The board also considered Senate Bill 128, which allows students to apply for a supplemental school year with first approval by the board. Students had to apply by May 1 for this COVID response.
School boards have to approve or disapprove the supplemental year requests by June 1.
Bush said high school administrators have sat down with all high school applicants to help them fully understand the possibly repercussions of being accepted. Students who do have an approved application can rescind their requests by June 1.
The board unanimously approved the 17 applicants for their supplemental years.