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A Place Called Hope? Not if You're Trapped in or Denied Entry to Schools

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Whatever happened to "A Place Called Hope?"

It's been replaced by a community so lacking in confidence in its public schools that its leaders trap those residents without the means for private, home school, or moving, and denies entry to anyone who would like to attend, but doesn't live in the district. In short, Hope has given up on individual, familial and community economic development.

Only seven school districts in Arkansas, save the seven precluded by a federal judge in Garland County, do not participate in and benefit from inter-district school choice. Six of those seven are in Southwest Arkansas. And all of those are represented by the same Allen P. Roberts PA attorneys. This is the same firm which was recently fired by the Pulaski County Special School District, which by the way, will participate in School Choice in 2018.

Here's what Hope claims are its conflicting federal court orders

If exemption weren't bad enough, the Hope School Board is now following its lawyers to U.S. District Court in an attempt to make "permanent" its exemption from state law. In other words, in the name of desegregation, it's attempting to build a wall around its district and not let anyone in or out.

Attached are the Motion for Declaratory Judgement to Enjoin Transfer and Brief in Support of Declaratory Judgment, both filed September 7, 2017 in the U.S. District Court, Western District of Arkansas, Texarkana Division (U.S. District Judge Hickey).

It's past time for Hope's business, civic and parent leaders, as well as its distinguished natives, to step up and insist its school board withdraw these motions and join the rest of Arkansas in putting the best interests of students and families over the self interests of the status quo.

 Attached Files:

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In El Dorado and Other Exempting Districts, Racial Percentages Matter More Than Equal Access

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Monday, September 4, 2017
Updated: Monday, September 4, 2017
The El Dorado School District, one of only seven Arkansas school districts exempting from the state's law on inter-district school choice, has a dirty little secret.

It's doing school choice. The pick-and-choose kind.
  • 2004-05: 67 (4 Black; No other races reported)
  • 2005-06: 90 (6 Black; No other races reported)
  • 2006-07: 90 (1 Black; No other races reported)
  • 2007-08: 90 (1 Black; No other races reported)
  • 2008-09: 79 (2 Black; No other races reported)
  • 2009-10: 103 (92 White, 7 Black, 4 Other)
  • 2010-11: 101 (88 White, 7 Black, 6 Other)
  • 2011-12: 76 (68 White. 4 Black, 4 Other)
  • 2012-13: 60 (53 White, 4 Black, 3 Other)
  • 2013-14: 68 (56 White, 7 Black, 5 Other)
  • 2014-15: 61 (48 White, 6 Black, 7 Other)
  • 2015-16: 55 (45 White, 4 Black, 6 Other)
  • 2016-17: 48 (40 White, 3 Black, 5 Other)
  • 13-YEAR TOTAL: 988 (56 Black - 5.6%)
  • 8-YEAR TOTAL: 572 (490 White - 86%, 42 Black - 7%, 40 Other - 7%)
Get the picture? In the name of desegregation, El Dorado is preferring the choices of White students.

The El Dorado district is 38% White, 49% Black, 9% Hispanic, and 4% Other. Are we really to believe that only 56 non-resident Black students wanted in the district over the past thirteen years? Clearly, the district is rejecting African-American students and preferring White students when it comes to inter-district school choice.

Non-resident employees of the district may choice in their students, regardless of race. And, resident employees of other districts may choice out their students, also regardless of race.

El Dorado, like six of the seven other exempting districts in Arkansas, is represented by the same law firm, Allen P. Roberts, P.A. of Camden. Pulaski County Special School District (PCSSD), which will fully participate in and benefit from Choice in 2018, fired the firm along with its Choice-hating superintendent earlier this year.

In 2014, the former PCSSD superintendent, the Roberts firm, and Joshua Intervenors attorney John Walker were responsible for a one-year drop in African-American Choice into the Little Rock School District of 1,259 students.

El Dorado has so much going for it. It's a shame and disgrace to let the school board, superintendent, and their attorneys trap its students simply because of residence and be the sole gatekeepers as to who gets in or out of the district.

The El Dorado School District board, superintendent, and their enabling attorneys and U.S. District Judge must do better. Brown v. Board of Education was about ensuring equity of access for all, not propping up arbitrarily determined artificial racial balances.
 
 Here are the only districts in Arkansas exempting from School Choice and their excuses:

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When Exactly Were LRSD's Glory Days?

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Friday, September 1, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, September 5, 2017

For those who believe "local control" to be the panacea for all that ails the Little Rock School District, please share the glory days year or year(s) you believe is/are closest to what the district could/should be. Here's a start on a list of accomplishments of the respective boards and their superintendents.

The only accomplishment the district's website history lists after 2002 was being declared unitary by the U.S. District Court in February of 2007.

[Work in Progress]

2004

  • Katherine Mitchell
  • Robert Daugherty
  • Bryan Day
  • Baker Kurrus
  • Larry Berkley
  • Tony Rose
  • Sue Strickland
  • Roy Brooks, Superintendent
    • State Championship - Football - Central
    • State Championship - Girls Track and Field - McClellan
    • State Championship - Girls Tennis - Central
    • State Championship - Girls Basketball - Parkview

2005

  • Katherine Mitchell
  • Robert Daugherty
  • Bryan Day
  • Baker Kurrus
  • Larry Berkley
  • Tony Rose
  • Sue Strickland
  • Roy Brooks, Superintendent
    • State Championship - Boys Tennis - Central
    • State Championship - Girls Basketball - Parkview

2006

  • Katherine Mitchell
  • Robert Daugherty
  • Melanie Fox
  • Baker Kurrus
  • Larry Berkley
  • Charles Armstrong
  • Dianne Curry
  • Roy Brooks, Superintendent
    • State Championship - Boys Tennis - Central
    • State Championship - Boys Basketball - Parkview

2007

  • Katherine Mitchell
  • Robert Daugherty
  • Melanie Fox
  • Baker Kurrus
  • Larry Berkley
  • Charles Armstrong
  • Dianne Curry
  • Roy Brooks, Superintendent
    • District declared unitary by U.S. District Court
    • Highest enrollment (25,738) on recent record
    • State Championship - Quiz Bowl - Parkview
    • State Championship - Boys Tennis - Central
    • State Championship - Girls Basketball - Parkview

2008

  • Katherine Mitchell
  • Robert Daugherty
  • Melanie Fox
  • Baker Kurrus
  • Jody Carriero
  • Charles Armstrong
  • Dianne Curry
  • Linda Watson, Superintendent
    • State Championship - Quiz Bowl - Central
    • State Championship - Quiz Bowl - Parkview
    • State Championship - Boys Tennis - Central
    • State Championship - Boys Basketball - Hall

2009

  • Katherine Mitchell
  • Robert Daugherty
  • Melanie Fox
  • Baker Kurrus
  • Jody Carriero
  • Charles Armstrong
  • Dianne Curry
  • Linda Watson, Superintendent
    • State Championship - Boys Tennis - Central

2010

  • Katherine Mitchell
  • Mike Nellums
  • Melanie Fox
  • Greg Adams
  • Jody Carriero
  • Tommy Branch, Jr.
  • Dianne Curry
  • Linda Watson/Morris Holmes, Superintendent
    • Roberts Elementary opens as largest elementary in district, first school west of I-430 since 1978
    • State Championship - Quiz Bowl - Parkview
    • State Championship - Girls Tennis - Parkview
    • State Championship - Boys Basketball - Hall
    • State Championship - Boys Basketball - McClellan

2011

  • Norma Johnson
  • Mike Nellums
  • Melanie Fox
  • Greg Adams
  • Jody Carriero
  • Tommy Branch, Jr.
  • Dianne Curry
  • Morris Holmes, Superintendent
    • Highest revenue on record ($348,859,027)
    • State Championship - Quiz Bowl - Parkview
    • State Championship - Girls Tennis - Central
    • State Championship - Boys Basketball - Hall
    • State Championship - Boys Basketball - Parkview

2012

  • Norma Johnson
  • Mike Nellums
  • Leslie Fisken
  • Greg Adams
  • Jody Carriero
  • Tommy Branch, Jr.
  • Dianne Curry
  • Morris Holmes/Marvin Burton, Superintendent
    • State Championship - Girls Basketball - Parkview
    • State Championship - Boys Basketball - Hall
    • State Championship - Boys Basketball - Parkview

2013

  • Norma Johnson
  • C.E. McAdoo
  • Leslie Fisken
  • Greg Adams
  • Jody Carriero
  • Tara Shephard
  • Dianne Curry
  • Marvin Burton/Dexter Suggs, Superintendent
    • Desegregation Settlement Agreement approved
    • Reward School (Top 10% Performing in Arkansas) - Forest Park Elementary
    • Reward School (Top 10% Performing in Arkansas) - Jefferson Elementary
    • Reward School (Top 10% Performing in Arkansas) - Roberts Elementary
    • Reward School (Top 10% Performing in Arkansas) - Williams Elementary
    • Reward School (Top 20% Performing in Arkansas) - Terry Elementary
    • State Championship - Girls Basketball - Hall
    • State Championship - Boys Basketball - Hall

2014

  • Joy Springer
  • C.E. McAdoo
  • Leslie Fisken
  • Greg Adams
  • Jim Ross
  • Tara Shephard
  • Dianne Curry
  • Dexter Suggs, Superintendent
    • District ends exemption from inter-district School Choice
    • Forest Heights STEM Academy opens
    • A School (300 of 300; Tied for 1st in Arkansas) - Forest Park Elementary
    • A School (290 of 300; Tied for 11th in Arkansas) - Terry Elementary
    • A School (289 of 300; Tied for 12th in Arkansas) - Roberts Elementary
    • A School (277 of 300; Tied for 24th in Arkansas) - Carver Elementary
    • Reward School (Top 10% Performing in Arkansas) - Forest Park Elementary
    • Reward School (Top 10% Performing in Arkansas) - Gibbs Elementary
    • Reward School (Top 10% Performing in Arkansas) - Roberts Elementary
    • Reward School (Top 10% Performing in Arkansas) - Terry Elementary
    • Reward School (Top 10% Performing in Arkansas) - Williams Elementary
    • Reward School (Top 20% Performing in Arkansas) - Jefferson Elementary
    • State Championship - Girls Track and Field - Parkview
    • State Championship - Boys Tennis - Central

2015

  • Board Removed
  • Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Tony Wood Assumes Responsibilities
  • Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key Succeeds Tony Wood
  • Dexter Suggs, Superintendent
  • Baker Kurrus succeeds Dexter Suggs
    • Cuts licensed staff (which includes administrators) by 166 (22%)
    • A School (285 of 300; 2nd in Arkansas) - Forest Park Elementary
    • B School (269 of 300; Tied for 7th in Arkansas) - Roberts Elementary
    • B School (265 of 300; Tied for 10th in Arkansas) - Parkview High School
    • Reward School (Top 5% Performing in Arkansas) - Forest Park Elementary
    • Reward School (Top 5% Performing in Arkansas) - Gibbs Elementary
    • Reward School (Top 5% Performing in Arkansas) - Jefferson Elementary
    • Reward School (Top 5% Performing in Arkansas) - Roberts Elementary
    • Reward School (Top 5% Performing in Arkansas) - Williams Elementary
    • Reward School (Top 6-10% Performing in Arkansas) - Forest Heights STEM Academy K-8
    • Reward School (Top 5% Growth in Arkansas) - Forest Park Elementary
    • Reward School (Top 5% Growth in Arkansas) - Cloverdale Middle
    • Reward School (Top 5% Growth in Arkansas) - Forest Heights STEM Academy K-8
    • Reward School (Top 5% Growth in Arkansas) - Forest Park Elementary
    • Reward School (Top 5% Growth in Arkansas) - Gibbs Elementary
    • Reward School (Top 5% Growth in Arkansas) - Mabelvale Middle
    • Reward School (Top 5% Growth in Arkansas) - Mann Middle
    • Reward School (Top 5% Growth in Arkansas) - Pulaski Heights Middle
    • Reward School (Top 5% Growth in Arkansas) - Roberts Elementary
    • Reward School (Top 5% Growth in Arkansas) - Williams Elementary
    • Reward School (Top 6-10% Growth in Arkansas) - Henderson Middle
    • Reward School (Top 6-10% Growth in Arkansas) - Jefferson Elementary
    • State Championship - Boys Basketball - McClellan

2016

  • Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key
  • Baker Kurrus, Superintendent
    • Pinnacle View Middle School opens temporary sixth grade
    • Baseline Elementary removed from Academic Distress
    • State Championship - Boys Basketball - Parkview
  • Mike Poore succeeds Baker Kurrus
    • Reward School (Top 5% Performance in Arkansas) - Fair Park Elementary
    • Reward School (Top 5% Performance in Arkansas) - Roberts Elementary
    • Reward School (Top 6-10% Performance in Arkansas) - Forest Heights STEM Academy K-8
    • Reward School (Top 6-10% Performance in Arkansas) - Gibbs Elementary
    • Reward School (Top 5% Growth in Arkansas) - Fair Park Elementary
    • Reward School (Top 5% Growth in Arkansas) - Roberts Elementary
    • Reward School (Top 6-10% Growth in Arkansas) - Gibbs Elementary
    • State Championship - Boys Basketball - Parkview

2017

  • Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key
  • Michael Poore, Superintendent
    • Fair, McClellan High Schools removed from Academic Distress
    • Low-enrollment Franklin, Wilson, Hamilton, Woodruff closed
    • District one of twelve in Arkansas to improve in all grades on ACT Aspire
    • Pinnacle View Middle School opens as largest building in district
    • Second lien bonds approved to build Little Rock Southwest High School

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While Status Quo Cries 'Racists,' Its Fight Against School Choice Hurts African-Americans Most

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Updated: Thursday, August 31, 2017

"When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser." - Socrates

The status quo is quick to label most anything School Choice as "racist." In fact, almost everything with which the status quo disagrees, particularly in regard to the Little Rock School District, receives the dreaded "R" label.

And yet, the status quo's tacit acceptance of Jerry Guess/John Walker-imposed conditions in the 2014 Desegregation Settlement Agreement and its ongoing irrational fight against anything charter has had a far greater detrimental impact on African-American students and families than their White counterparts.

What about Hispanic (14% of LRSD) or Other (4%) students? In the status quo's LRSD, all that matters is Black (64%) and White (18%).

So, here are the facts regarding...

African-American School Choice in Little Rock

School Year Non-resident Black
Students Choosing LRSD
Black Students
as % of LRSD Choice
Black Students
Choosing Charters
Black Students
as % of Charter Choice
2004-05 58 95% 85 52%
2005-06 58 97% 72 24%
2006-07 43 100% 101 28%
2007-08 43 91% 342 52%
2008-09 420 91% 981 57%
2009-10 1,197 76% 1,046 55%
2010-11 1,399 76% 1,524 59%
2011-12 1,474 78% 1,581 55%
2012-13 1,419 78% 1,646 55%
2013-14 1,373 80% 1,606 54%
2014-15 114 63% 1,787 53%
2015-16 113 65% 1,998 53%
2016-17 125 65% 2,243 53%

 

Get the picture? Limitations on School Choice have had and continue to have a devastating impact on African-American students, both in numbers and percentages.

What happened in 2014-15? In the Desegregation Settlement Agreement, John Walker and Jerry Guess imposed a 30-student annual limit on School Choice from and to the Pulaski County Special School District. North Little Rock, Little Rock, and the State were apparently so anxious to complete a settlement, they agreed. So, the attorney supposedly representing the best interests of African-American students and the superintendent of the whitest district in the county ended inter-district School Choice, the beneficiaries of which were mostly African-Americans and the Little Rock School District.

In just one year, African-American choice into the Little Rock School District dropped 1,259 students. In status quo terms, that's $8,435,300 in annual State foundation funding. And yet, there was not a peep out of the status quo. There will be those who claim that Choice was ended because the State no longer paid for it. But the State's non-restricted desegregation payments to the districts don't stop until the end of this school year, four years after Choice was halted.

So, let's have a real conversation about race.

  • Total African-American Choice enrollment in Pulaski County South of the Arkansas River (2,368) would rank as the 50th largest school district in Arkansas (out of 269 districts, charters).
  • Total African-American Charter enrollment in Little Rock (2,243) would rank as the 53rd largest school district in Arkansas
  • In past dozen years, African-American enrollment in Little Rock's open-enrollment public charter schools has grown 2,639%
  • In past dozen years, White enrollment in Little Rock's open-enrollment public charter schools has grown 1,465%
  • In past dozen years, African-American enrollment growth in open-enrollment public charter schools has outpaced White growth nearly two to one 
  • Only 26% (50) of non-resident inter-district School Choice students in the Little Rock School District are White
  • Only 23% (982) of open-enrollment public charter school students in Little Rock are White
  • According to the 2010 census, upon which the latest LRSD board zones were drawn:
    • Total LRSD Population - 178,391
    • White LRSD Population - 84,513 (47%)
    • Black LRSD Population - 78,724 (44%)
    • Hispanic LRSD Population - 12,551 (7%)
    • Other LRSD Population - 2,603 (1.5%)
  • School-age population in Pulaski County South of Arkansas River:
    • Total: 40,609
    • LRSD (56%): 22,759 (18% White)
    • Private (20%): 8,184 (Demographics Unavailable)
    • PCSSD (12%): 4,770 (44% White)
    • Charter (10%): 4,252 (23% White)
    • Home School (2%): 644 (Demographics Unavailable)

The latest unanimously approved open-enrollment public charter applications for Little Rock are projected to open at:

When the status quo fights inter-district school choice and open-enrollment public charter schools under the banner of fighting racism, they are actually fighting choices made by African-American students and families, those long trapped by the tyranny of Choice-exempting school districts and residence-based attendance zones.

Sources:
https://adedatabeta.arkansas.gov
http://www.officeforeducationpolicy.org/arkansas-schools-data-demographics

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13,633 Arkansas Students Choose District Schools Outside of Residence

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Friday, August 25, 2017
Updated: Friday, August 25, 2017

With 13,633 choosing schools in districts other than their own in 2016-17, the state's greatest beneficiaries of inter-district school ranged from North to South, East to West, rural to urban.

District  School Choice Students 
 Greene Co. Tech  537
 Southside (Independence Co.)  474
 Paragould  431
 Bauxite  405
 Alma  349
 West Memphis  338
 Lakeside (Garland Co.)  337
 Benton  318
 North Little Rock  285
 Pottsville  269
 West Fork  239
 White Hall  220
 Poyen  210
 Watson Chapel  207
 Little Rock  192
 Harmony Grove (Benton Co.)  187
 Greenwood  182
 Valley View  181
 Bryant  167
 Elkins  161
 Mountain Home  158
 Jonesboro  155
 Lawrence Co.  155
 Palestine-Wheatley  153
 Van Buren  150
 Perryville  149
 Brookland  143
 Hoxie  143
 Pocahontas  142
 Nettleton  131
 Farmington  128
 Greenbrier  128
 Pea Ridge  122
 Hot Springs  116
 Magnet Cove  106
 Cave City  101


Sadly, the residents of eight Arkansas school districts were denied choice by their boards. Six of those districts were counseled by the same law firm - Alan P. Roberts PA of Camden. The newly elected board of the Pulaski County Special School District fired the firm earlier this year and will fully participate in and benefit from inter-district school beginning in 2018. It remains to be seen if the Jacksonville North Pulaski School District will follow PCSSD's lead, as it did on exemption. Here are the exempting districts, linked to their anachronistic and non-conflicting excuses for exemption.

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How Springdale Starts Teachers Over $11,500 More Than LRSD

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Friday, August 25, 2017
Updated: Friday, August 25, 2017

Springdale, the district closest in enrollment to Little Rock, has the highest teacher salaries in the state. The Little Rock School District...doesn't.

District
(2015-16)
Base Teacher Pay
(BA: 0 Years)
Base Teacher Pay
(MA: 0 Years) 
Base Teacher Pay
(Top of Schedule) 
Average Teacher Pay 
 Springdale  $46,816 (1st)  $49,340 (1st)  $75,316 (1st)  $59,143 (1st)
 LRSD  $35,232 (63rd)  $40,550 (37th)  $68,634 (10th)  $57,265 (2nd)


Here's why.

Year  District  Enrollment  Classified  Licensed (Administrators)  Teachers  Total Personnel  Personnel per Pupil 
 2016-17   LRSD  22,759  1,498  587  1,658  3,743  6.08
 2016-17  Springdale  21,527  1,096  299  1,432  2,827  7.61
               
 2015-16  LRSD  23,164  1,623  598  1,677  3,898  5.94
 2015-16  Springdale  21,260  1,070  300  1,370  2,740  7.76
               
 2014-15  LRSD  23,363  1,652  764  1,939  4,355  5.36
 2014-15  Springdale  21,120  1,054  324  1,559  2,937  7.19
               
 2013-14  LRSD  23,676  1,762  767  1,774  4,303  5.50
 2013-14  Springdale  20,542  1,022  300  1,397  2,719  7.55


Even though Springdale has only 1,232 students less than Little Rock, it has 916 fewer employees. That gives Springdale over one-and-a-half employees less per pupil than Little Rock. And its licensed employees, which includes administrators, are nearly half of Little Rock's total.

Since State intervention, however, Little Rock is making progress, dropping licensed employees/administrators 177 in just two years and increasing its personnel per pupil number by nearly .72 employees.

It should be noted that Springdale does not participate in collective bargaining. Little Rock does, for both teachers and classified staff. Why is that significant? When union dues are the same ($720 per year for teachers), regardless of income, the union benefits from volume of employees, with no incentive to raise pay. Increasing teacher pay may only come from reduction in volume of employees, and that does not benefit the union.

There is an alternative and immediate way to give Little Rock teachers a $522 raise. For comparable benefits at a fraction ($198) of LREA dues ($720), LRSD teachers could follow the lead of hundreds of their Springdale colleagues and join the non-union Arkansas State Teachers Association (ASTA). But teachers will have to contact ASTA on their own, as the union is, inexplicably, given a monopoly on access to LRSD teachers. Compare benefits here:

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Biggest Charter School Lies Debunked

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Thursday, August 24, 2017
Updated: Friday, September 1, 2017

Several big whoppers are regularly told regarding open-enrollment public charter schools. The conversation generally goes like this, "I'm not against charter schools, but...

School/District  Enrollment  SPED  FRL  White  Hispanic Black  Other  Minority 
 LRSD  22,567  12%  71%  18%  14%  64%  4%  82%
 All LR Charters  4,244  7% (295)  50% (2,106) 23% (982)  15% (647)  53% (2,253)  8% (354)  77% (3,270)
 eStem  1,462

8% (117)

 30% (439)
 40% (585)  6% (88)  47% (687)  6% (88)  60% (877)
 LISA Academy Chenal  356  5% (18)  35% (125)  20% (71)  16% (57)  38% (145)  26% (93)  84% (299)
 LISA Academy 7-8  540  4% (22)  57% (307)  14% (77)  21% (113)  49% (265)  16% (86)  86% (464)
 LISA Academy High  365  6% (22)  42% (153)  24% (88)  17% (62)  47% (172)  12% (44)  76% (277)
 LR Prep  411  9% (37)  84% (345)  1% (4)  10% (41)  89% (366)  0% (0)  99% (407)
 Exalt  307  4% (12)  96% (295)  2% (6)  51% (157)  45% (138)  1% (3)  98% (300)
 Premier  109  11% (12)  23% (25)  9% (10)  3% (3)  88% (96)  0% (0)  91% (99)
 SIA Tech  171  3% (5)  82% (140)  3% (5)  5% (9)  91% (156)  1% (2)  97% (166)
 Covenant Keepers  180  4% (7)  94% (169)  0% (0)  53% (95)  46% (83)  1% (2)  100% (180)
 Quest  192  17% (32)  12% (23)  60% (115)  7% (13)  22% (42)  11% (21)  40% (77)
 Rockbridge  151  7% (11)  56% (85)  18% (27)  6% (9)  68% (103)  9% (14)  82% (124)

 

Have other concerns regarding open-enrollment public charter schools in Arkansas? Share them, and we'll share the facts.

 

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Fast Facts on K-12 Education in Pulaski County South of River

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Monday, August 21, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Progress

  • Since State intervention in 2015, three of six LRSD schools have been removed from Academic Distress
  • In 2016, LRSD and PCSSD were two of only twelve districts and one charter in Arkansas to improve in every grade on the ACT Aspire
  • In 2016, LRSD resident (non-transfer) enrollment exceeded resident enrollment in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013
  • In 2016, LRSD opened Pinnacle View Middle School (PVMS) sixth grade
    • When at capacity in 2018, district's largest building will have district's second highest enrollment, exceeded only by Central
    • By utilizing elementary feeder schools instead of attendance zone, PVMS opened as the district school which most reflects Little Rock's demographics - 46% Black, 41% White, 2% Hispanic, 10% Other
    • By converting existing building, PVMS saved district approximately $15M to be dedicated to Little Rock Southwest High School
    • In year before PVMS opened, Quest, the closest charter, had 71 sixth graders. The year PVMS opened, Quest had 27 sixth graders
  • In 2016, Little Rock Preparatory Academy opened new 5-8 campus at former Lutheran School
  • In 2016, LISA Academy Chenal opened new K-6
  • In 2017, eStem Public Charter Schools opened new high school on campus of UALR
  • In 2017, via second lien bonds, LRSD is making improvements to every facility in district
  • In 2018, PCSSD, via second lien bonds and final year's Desegregation Settlement Agreement payment, will open a new Mills High School, converted Fuller Middle School, and expanded Robinson Middle School
  • In 2018, eStem Public Charter School will open new K-8 on Shall Street
  • In 2018, PCSSD will participate in inter-district school choice
  • In 2019, via final year's Desegregation Settlement Agreement payment and second lien bonds, LRSD will open Little Rock Southwest High School

Academics

  • LRSD has seven Priority Schools (among lowest 5% academically performing in state and 17.5% of state's total)
    • Baseline Elementary
      • 14.8% enter second grade two or more grades behind in Math
      • 31.2% enter third grade two or more grades behind in Math
      • 13% enter third grade two or more grades behind in English Language Arts
      • 31.2% enter fourth grade two or more grades behind in Math
      • 23% enter fourth grade two or more grades behind in English Language Arts
      • 44.1% enter fifth grade two or more grades behind in Math
      • 26% enter fifth grade two or more grades behind in English Language Arts
    • Cloverdale Middle School (also Academic Distress - three-year average of less than 49.5% of students proficient - 44.168%)
      • 67% enter sixth grade three or more grades behind in Math
      • 61% enter sixth grade three or more grades behind in English Language Arts
      • 65% enter seventh grade three or more grades behind in Math
      • 63% enter seventh grade three or more grades behind in English Language Arts
      • 63% enter eighth grade three or more grades behind in Math
      • 65% enter eighth grade three or more grades behind in English Language Arts
    • Henderson Middle School (also Academic Distress - three-year average of less than 49.5% of students proficient - 47.473%)
      • 77% enter sixth grade three or more grades behind in Math
      • 43% enter sixth grade three or more grades behind in English Language Arts
      • 79% enter seventh grade three or more grades behind in Math
      • 35% enter seventh grade three or more grades behind in English Language Arts
      • 78% enter eight grade three or more grades behind in Math
      • 29% enter eighth grade three or more grades behind in English Language Arts
    • Mabelvale Middle School
      • 69% enter sixth grade three or more grades behind in Math
      • 33% enter sixth grade three or more grades behind in English Language Arts
      • 72% enter seventh grade three or more grades behind in Math
      • 52% enter seventh grade three or more grades behind in English Language Arts
      • 77% enter eighth grade three or more grades behind in Math
      • 52% enter eighth grade three or more grades behind in English Language Arts
    • Fair High School
      • 95% enter ninth grade three or more grades behind in Math
      • 76% enter ninth grade three or more grades behind in English Language Arts
      • 97% enter tenth grade three or more grades behind in Math
      • 67% enter tenth grade three or more grades behind in English Language Arts
    • Hall High School (also Academic Distress - three-year average of less than 49.5% of students proficient - 39.296%)
      • 92% enter ninth grade three or more grades behind in Math
      • 86% enter ninth grade three or more grades behind in English Language Arts
      • 90% enter tenth grade three or more grades behind in Math
      • 71% enter tenth grade three or more grades behind in English Language Arts
    • McClellan High School
      • 78% enter ninth grade three or more grades behind in Math
      • 75% enter ninth grade three or more grades behind in English Language Arts
      • 75% enter tenth grade three or more grades behind in Math
      • 79% enter tenth grade three or more grades behind in English Language Arts
      • 50% enter eleventh grade three or more grades behind in Math
      • 77% enter eleventh grade three or more grades behind in English Language Arts
      • 54% enter twelfth grade three or more grades behind in Math
      • 67% enter twelfth grade three or more grades behind in English Language Arts
  • LRSD has thirteen Focus Schools (among lowest 6-10% academically performing in state and 18% of state's total)
  • Eleven of LRSD's 26 elementary schools are Focus Schools
    • Bale
    • Chicot
    • King
    • Pulaski Heights
    • Rockefeller
    • Romine
    • Stephens
    • Wakefield
    • Washington
    • Watson
    • Western Hills
  • Two Focus Schools were closed - Franklin, Wilson
  • Twelve of LRSD's twenty-six elementary schools, three of seven middle schools, and four of five high schools are either Focus or Priority Schools, among lowest 10% performing in state
  • PCSSD Mills High School is in Academic Distress (three-year average of less than 49.5% of students proficient - 48.851%)
  • Of the fifteen schools in Academic Distress in Arkansas, Little Rock has four (26.67%) - LRSD (3), PCSSD (1)

Enrollment

  • In 2016, 40,609 students enrolled in K-12 in Pulaski County south of Arkansas River
    • LRSD (42 Schools) - 22,759 (56%)
    • Private  (17 Schools) - 8,184 (20%)
    • PCSSD (11 Schools) - 4,770 (12%)
    • Charter (9 Schools) - 4,252 (10%)
    • Home School - 644 (2%)
  • There are at least 79 K-12 schools in Pulaski County south of Arkansas River
  • 2014 Desegregation Settlement Agreement conditions ended average of 1,769 choicing into LRSD from PCSSD and NLRSD via Majority-to-Minority transfers
  • Over past 13 years, City of Little Rock population grew +7.3%
    • LRSD enrollment dropped -6.8% (-1,665 students)
    • NLRSD enrollment dropped -7.7% (-705 students)
    • PCSSD enrollment dropped -10.2% (-1,835 students)
    • Conway School District grew +17.5% (+1,478 students)
    • Benton School District grew +20.1% (+854 students)
    • Bryant School District grew +38.4% (+2,536 students)
    • Combined Conway, Benton, Bryant grew +4,868, more than both PCSSD and Charter enrollment in Pulaski County south of river
  • LRSD school board zones are of essentially equal population, but vary widely in number/type of schools:
    • Zone 1 has 11 schools (1 HS, 3 Middle, 5 Elementary, 1 Pre-K, 1 Technical)
    • Zone 2 has 4 schools (1 HS, 3 Elementary)
    • Zone 3 has 8 schools (1 HS, 1 Middle, 1 K-8, 4 Elementary, 1 Pre-K)
    • Zone 4 has 4 schools (3 Elementary, 1 6-7)
    • Zone 5 has 3 schools (1 HS, 1 Middle, 1 Elementary)
    • Zone 6 has 7 schools (5 Elementary, 1 Pre-K, 1 ALE)
    • Zone 7 has 7 schools (1 HS, 2 Middle, 3 Elementary, 1 Pre-K)
  • Between 2000 and 2015, elementary-age population declined in all but two LRSD board zones:
    • Zone 1 (-46.6%)
    • Zone 6 (-16.3%)
    • Zone 2 (-14.2%)
    • Zone 3 (-14.1%)
    • Zone 7 (-8.4%)
    • Zone 5 (+39.2%)
    • Zone 4 (+43.1%)
  • Within LRSD, students are assigned to schools by residence, but may choose to apply to attend magnet schools at:
    • Central High School
    • Parkview High School
    • Dunbar Middle
    • Mann Middle
    • Forest Heights STEM K-8
    • Booker Elementary
    • Carver Elementary
    • Gibbs Elementary
    • Williams Elementary

Capacity

  • LRSD High Schools have 557 available seats (none at Central, Parkview)
    • Central High School is 31% over capacity (+601)
    • Parkview High School is at 100% capacity (0)
    • Fair High School is at 86% capacity (-150)
    • Hall High School is at 71% capacity (-472)
    • McClellan High School is at 60% capacity (-536)
  • There are 1,129 charter high school students in Little Rock. If all charters closed, and all students chose LRSD, there would not be room in LRSD high schools.
  • LRSD Middle Schools have 1,040 available seats (none at Pinnacle View)
    • Cloverdale is at 66% capacity (-292)
    • Dunbar is at 79% capacity (-174)
    • Henderson is at 89% capacity (-206)
    • Mabelvale is at 81% capacity (-143)
    • Mann is at 83% capacity (-164)
    • Pinnacle View is at 100% capacity (0)
    • Pulaski Heights is at 92% capacity (-61)
  • There are 1,357 charter middle school students in Little Rock. If all charters closed, and all students chose LRSD, there would not be room in LRSD middle schools.
  • LRSD Elementary Schools have 2,623 available seats (none at Dodd, Forest Park, Fulbright, Otter Creek, Terry, Wakefield, Watson)
    • Bale is at 81% capacity (-91)
    • Baseline is at 93% capacity (-21)
    • Booker is at 73% capacity (-172)
    • Brady is at 89% capacity (-50)
    • Carver is at 46% capacity (-341)
    • Chicot is at 86% capacity (-128)
    • Dodd is at 110% capacity (+30)
    • Forest Park is at 114% capacity (+57)
    • Fulbright is at 133% capacity (+156)
    • Gibbs is at 83% capacity (-63)
    • Jefferson is at 89% capacity (-52)
    • Mabelvale is at 90% capacity (-54)
    • McDermott is at 94% capacity (--25)
    • Meadowcliff is at 92% capacity (-30)
    • King is at 63% capacity (-250)
    • Otter Creek is at 108% capacity (+36)
    • Pulaski Heights is at 94% capacity (-20)
    • Roberts is at 83% capacity (-180)
    • Rockefeller is at 81% capacity (-122)
    • Romine is at 48% capacity (-284)
    • Stephens is at 52% capacity (-350)
    • Terry is at 102% capacity (+10)
    • Wakefield is at 105% capacity (+28)
    • Washington is at 48% capacity (-498)
    • Watson is at 101% capacity (+6)
    • Western Hills is at 65% capacity (-126)
    • Williams is at 85% capacity (-89)
  • There are 1,459 charter elementary students in Little Rock. If all charters closed, and all students chose LRSD, there would be room in 18 of 26 LRSD elementaries. Of those with capacity, only ten are not Focus/Priority Schools
  • LRSD K-8 School has 46 available seats
    • Forest Heights STEM is at 82% capacity (-46)
  • There are 307 K-8 charter students in Little Rock. If all charters closed, there would not be room in LRSD K-8.
  • Six of seven LRSD school board zones have excess seat capacity:
    • Zone 1 (+1,447)
    • Zone 2 (+766)
    • Zone 3 (+104)
    • Zone 4 (+49)
    • Zone 5 (-10)
    • Zone 6 (+428)
    • Zone 7 (+140)
  • LRSD's facilities utilization rates are:
    • Hamilton (11%)
    • Carver (46%)
    • Romine (48%)
    • Washington (48%)
    • Franklin (49%) - CLOSED
    • Stephens (52%)
    • McClellan (60%)
    • King (63%)
    • Western Hills (65%)
    • Cloverdale (66%)
    • Hall (71%)
    • Booker (73%)
    • Henderson (77%)
    • Dunbar (79%)
    • Bale (81%)
    • Mabelvale Middle (81%)
    • Rockefeller (81%)
    • Forest Heights STEM (82%)
    • Gibbs (83%)
    • Mann (83%)
    • Roberts (83%)
    • Williams (85%)
    • Chicot (86%)
    • Fair (86%)
    • Wilson (87%) - CLOSED
    • Brady (89%)
    • Jefferson (89%)
    • Mabelvale Elementary (90%)
    • Meadowcliff (92%)
    • Pulaski Heights Middle (92%)
    • Baseline (93%)
    • McDermott (94%)
    • Pulaski Heights Elementary (94%)
    • Parkview (100%)
    • Watson (101%)
    • Terry (102%)
    • Wakefield (105%)
    • Otter Creek (108%)
    • Dodd (110%)
    • Forest Park (114%)
    • Central (132%)
    • Fulbright (133%)

Finances

  • LRSD has highest assessed property valuation of any district in Arkansas ($3,447,675,908)
  • PCSSD/JNPSD has the second highest assessed property valuation in Arkansas ($2,490,356,153), $957,319,755 less than LRSD
  • 23 of LRSD's 42 schools are less than 500 students, the minimum threshold upon which the State builds the funding matrix; the district closest in enrollment to LRSD is Springdale, which has zero schools below 500
  • LRSD's budgeted per-pupil costs are:
    • Hamilton ($34,278)
    • Baseline ($14,545
    • Cloverdale ($11,235)
    • Mabelvale Middle ($10,098)
    • Hall ($10,371)
    • McClellan ($10,352)
    • Franklin ($10,006) - CLOSED
    • Washington ($9,932)
    • Romine ($9,940)
    • Carver ($9,816)
    • Dunbar ($9,586)
    • Rockefeller ($9,501)
    • Henderson ($9,425)
    • Gibbs ($9,351)
    • Stephens ($9,164)
    • Western Hills ($9,100)
    • King ($9.065)
    • Jefferson ($8,967)
    • Wilson ($8,822) - CLOSED
    • Fair ($8,864)
    • McDermott ($8,832)
    • Forest Heights STEM ($8,628)
    • Booker ($8,607)
    • Mann ($8,577)
    • Parkview ($8,382)
    • Pulaski Heights Middle ($8,358)
    • Terry ($8,173)
    • Bale ($8,101)
    • Pulaski Heights Elementary ($8,097)
    • Dodd ($7,814)
    • Watson ($7,804)
    • Meadowcliff ($7,637)
    • Brady ($7,419)
    • Williams ($7,381)
    • Fulbright ($7,208)
    • Mabelvale Elementary ($7,113)
    • Forest Park ($7,044)
    • Chicot ($6,980)
    • Roberts ($6,899)
    • Central ($6,850)
    • Otter Creek ($6,819)
    • Wakefield ($6,456)

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Forget Charters. John Walker/Jerry Guess Responsible for LRSD Enrollment Drop

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Saturday, August 19, 2017
Updated: Saturday, August 19, 2017

This Little Rock School District has long benefitted from inter-district school choice. Consider the following enrollment data over the past thirteen years:

Year Total Enrollment  School Choice Enrollment without Choice  Choice % of Enrollment 
2004  24,424  79  24,345  .32%
2005  25,095  72  25,023  .28%
2006  25,500  44  25,456  .17%
2007  25,738  49  25,689  .17%
2008  24,660  560  24,100  2.27%
2009  24,380  1,569  22,811  6.4%
2010  24,226  1,840  22,386  7.59%
2011  24,049  1,900  22,149  7.9%
2012  23,594  1,813  21,781  7.68%
2013  23,676  1,725  21,951  7.28%
2014  23,363  181  23,182  .77%
2015  23,164  175  22,989  .75%
2016  22,759  192  22,567  .84%


What happened in 2008? Majority-to-Minority transfers.

What happened in 2014? The end of Majority-to-Minority transfers, a stipulation in the Desegregation Settlement Agreement imposed by then-Pulaski County Special School District Superintendent Jerry Guess and Joshua Intervenors Attorney John Walker.

I was at the Little Rock School Board meeting when members, led by Jody Carreiro, were shocked to learn from their attorney, Chris Heller, what was about to happen to the district's enrollment. But it was too late. They had already signed.

Cut to 2017. The fact is, even with the growing number of open-enrollment public charter seats in the Little Rock School District's footprint, had Walker and Guess not ended Majority-to-Minority transfers, the district's enrollment would essentially be at 24,548, higher than in 2004 and right at 2008, the first full year of Majority-to-Minority. And understand, they only ended it because the state would no longer be footing the bill. In other words, it was never about equity of access. It was all about the money.

For those long benefiting from the politics of division, It's easy to cry wolf over charters instead of holding those most responsible for the district's declining enrollment accountable. And that includes the thankfully removed PCSSD superintendent and the attorney who once again is suing LRSD for inequity he helped create and perpetuate.

Also ignored in the discussion is the impact of contiguous school districts on the county's public school district enrollment. Those districts have grown at double digit rates because over 100,000 people wake up every day in a county other than Pulaski and drive into the county to work. The status quo calls it "white flight," but one cannot fly from where one never lived.

The retention, growth and attraction of families in Little Rock should be the City's and Chamber's greatest priority. And that begins and ends with public safety and public education.

Public / Home School Enrollment

LR Census  LRSD PCSSD NLRSD Conway Bryant Benton LISA eStem Other Charters  LRSD Home School 

2004

 185,021 24,424 17,961 9,110 8,442 6,598 4,254 163 0   679
2005  185,868 25,095 (+671) 17,943 (-18) 9,368 (+258) 8,618 (+176) 6,851 (+253) 4,409 (+155) 299 (+136) 0   596
2006  187,052 25,500 (+405) 17,756 (-187) 9,334 (-34) 8,774 (+156) 6,862 (+11) 4,591 (+182) 359 (+60) 0   548
2007  188,156 25,738 (+238) 17,395 (-361) 8,974 (-360) 9,002 (+228) 7,163 (+301) 4,506 (-85) 411 (+52) 0   562
2008  189,971 24,660 (-1,079) 17,410 (-15) 8,970 (-4) 9,144 (+142) 7,383 (+220) 4,527 (+21) 433 (+22) 755   562
2009  191,993 24,380 (-280) 17,126 (-284) 9,119 (+149) 9,083 (-61) 7,669 (+286) 4,587 (+60) 465 (+32) 931 (+176)   555
2010  193,967 24,226 (-154) 16,828 (-298) 8,862 (-257) 9,256 (+173) 7,949 (+280) 4,666 (+79) 476 (+11) 1,231 (+300)   611
2011  195,206 24,049 (-177) 16,959 (+131) 8,545 (-317) 9,432 (+176) 8,291 (+342) 4,618 (-48) 599 (+123) 1,457 (+226)   564
2012  196,511 23,594 (-455) 17,245 (+286) 8,610 (+65) 9,630 (+192) 8,620 (+329) 4,768 (+150) 792 (+193) 1,485 (+28)   610
2013  197,230 23,676 (-82) 17,060 (-185) 8,553 (-57) 9,733 (+103) 8,862 (+242) 4,922 (+154) 799 (+7) 1,462 (-23)   566
2014  197,698 23,363 (-313) 16,592 (-468) 8,576 (+22) 9,771 (+38) 9,017 (+155) 5,000 (+78) 797 (-2) 1,462 (0)   590
2015  198,195 23,164 (-199) 16,562 (-30) 8,413 (-163) 9,734 (-37) 8,969 (-48) 5,045 (+45) 825 (+28) 1,462 (0)   644
2016  198,541 22,759 (-405) 12,199/3,927 (-436) 8,405 (-8) 9,920 (+186) 9,134 (+165) 5,108 (+63) 1,261 (+436) 1,462 (0)   NA
13 Year Totals  +7.3% -1,665 (-6.8%) -1,835 (-10.2%) -705 (-7.7%) +1,478 (+17.5%) +2,536 (+38.4%) +854 (+20.1%) +1,261 +1,462 +1,341  -35 (-5.2%)


Analysis

Over a thirteen-year period, the Little Rock School District (LRSD) "lost" a total of 1,665 students (-6.8%). In the same period, the Pulaski County Special School District (PCSSD) lost more students (-1,835) and a higher percentage of enrollment (-10.2%).

Meanwhile, neighboring districts in contiguous counties all experienced double digit percentage growth, led by Bryant's +2,536 students (+38.4%).

The combined enrollment of the Conway, Bryant and Benton School Districts was 24,162 in 2016. The combined enrollment of the Little Rock, North Little Rock (NLRSD), Pulaski County Special and Jacksonville/North Pulaski (JNPSD) School Districts was 47,290.

However, Conway, Bryant and Benton grew by 4,868 students (+25.2%), while LRSD, NLRSD, PCSSD and JNPSD lost 4,205 students (-8.2%). It is estimated that over 100,000 people who work in Pulaski County live in another county.

The largest open-enrollment public charter schools in the LRSD footprint, LISA Academy and eStem Public Charter Schools, enrolled students from all Pulaski County districts, as well as students from contiguous counties. They also attracted students from private and home schools. Those charters alone grew by 2,823 students over a ten year period. However, because of enrollment caps, eStem has not grown since 2011. With its Chenal expansion, LISA Academy grew by 436 students in 2016.

The biggest drop in enrollment in LRSD (-1,079) came between the 2007-08 and 2008-09 school years. That is also the period when Superintendent Roy Brooks was fired by board members loyal to Joshua Intervenors Attorney John Walker.

In Pulaski County, 68% of students are in traditional public schools, 18.5% are in private/independent schools, 10.5% are in open-enrollment public charter schools, and 3% are home schooled.

State foundation funding (approximately $6,700 per student) follows students to their public school district or charter school of choice. School districts, however, retain 100% of local property tax revenue dedicated to public schools.

Students who move from or never move to a school district, utilize Inter-district School Choice, attend private/independent schools, or are home schooled have the same fiscal impact on their resident school districts. Those who attend their resident school district's schools then choose an open-enrollment public charter school have a lessened fiscal impact because their resident district retains their respective State foundation funding for 1.5 years following the students' departure from the district.

In other words, the districts retain 100% of the State (and local) funding without the expense of educating the student.

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Only 12 Districts, 1 Charter Improve ACT Aspire Results in Every Grade

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Friday, August 11, 2017
Updated: Friday, August 11, 2017

While Arkansas as a whole improved ACT Aspire results in every grade, only 13 of the state's 262 public school districts and open-enrollment public charter schools achieved the distinction.

District/Charter 4 5 6 7 8 10 Overall 
 Arkansas  +4  +3  +5  +4  +6  +5  +5  +3  +3
 Bentonville  +7  +3  +8  +9  +8  +10  +4  +6  +7
 Cabot  +1  +12  +5  +7  +9  +18  +12  +10  +9
 Conway  +4  +4  +7  +5  +8  +5  +3  +2  +5
 Farmington  +1  +0  +10  +7  +5  +9  +2  +6  +5
 Greenbrier  +17  +10  +12  +11  +5  +8  +9  +8  +10
 Little Rock  +2  +6  +3  +8  +4  +6  +2  +4  +4
 Mountain Home  +1  +9  +5  +0  +13  +4  +3  +3  +5
 Nettleton  +7  +2  +0  +4  +4  +8  +2  +5  +4
 Ozark Montessori  +17  +3  +24  +4          +11
 Pottsville  +4  +12  +7  +3  +8  +0  +11  +4  +6
 Pulaski County Special  +2  +11  +3  +5  +5  +12  +6  +2  +6
 Rogers  +1  +5  +6  +10  +4  +4  +2  +1  +4
 Waldron  +10  +5  +2  +11  +7  +2  +13  +10  +7


While two of the thirteen were in Benton County - Bentonville and Rogers, two were also in Pulaski County - Little Rock (LRSD) and Pulaski County Special (PCSSD), both of which were under State control in 2016. Pulaski County was returned to local control in November.

Of the twelve districts, five were in the Little Rock region - Cabot, Conway, Greenbrier, LRSD and PCSSD.

Source: http://www.officeforeducationpolicy.org/arkansas-school-data-act-aspire

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