Perry County is located in the eastern part of Kentucky with a population of 28,241. Over the past couple of years, the population in Perry County has decreased 1.6%. This is a direct result of the plummeting coal industry, which is one of the primary industries in the county, and has seen drastic layoffs in recent years. The student population is predominantly white at 97.5%, with 1.5% African American, 1% Hispanic, and 83% of Perry County students are eligible for free/reduced lunch and approximately 18% are students with disabilities. Over 470 students in our district are classified as homeless. The student enrollment has steadily declined in recent years. In the last ten years, Perry County Schools has seen a 10% decline in student membership.
In 2003, the student enrollment was 4,500 and currently the student enrollment is 4,023. The decline in student enrollment has led to the closing of two elementary schools, Lost Creek Elementary in 2008, and Big Creek Elementary in 2013. The school district is comprised of 10 schools, 8 elementary schools, one K-12 school, and one 9-12 High School. Currently, the district has 4,023 students with slightly over 750 employees. The school district is the second largest employer in Perry County. The district recently opened a new K-8 school, East Perry Elementary, which replaced Dennis Wooton Elementary (a K-5 school). With this district make up, one of the unique features of Perry County is the distance between our schools. On average, a round trip from central office to our outlying schools is 54 miles. This factor presents a challenge for district administrators to visit every school every day even though we are strategically scheduling visits. Another challenge facing the Perry County District is the lack of an area technical center. Students attend HCTC, but the courses and number of students permitted to attend is limited. Thus, there is a focus to increase dual credit hours offered internally as well as add additional career pathways to ensure college and career readiness. Promoting a system of trust, where all stakeholders can be assured that every decision is being made in the best interest of the students of Perry County, has become our challenge of priority. The District Leadership Team, in conjunction with board members, school administrators, staff, students, and community partners has begun a new chapter in the story of the Perry County School system with the development of a new mission, vision, and belief statements. We have also developed a Teacher Leadership Academy that is charged with the task of enhancing curriculum maps, providing job-embedded professional development, and assisting in guiding our long- term plans for improvement. Perry County Schools is a proficient, high progressing district. Strategic Planning and crucial decisions based on data will ensure that we will continue to move forward as a district.