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In Poore's First Year, LRSD Improves in Every Grade for Only Second Time in Thirteen Years

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Saturday, August 19, 2017

In Michael Poore's first year as superintendent, the Little Rock School District was one of only twelve school districts and one charter in the entire state to improve cumulative ACT Aspire scores in each grade.

Under Poore's academic leadership, the district also improved individually in both Math and English Language Arts for each grade. That has happened only once in the past thirteen years - in 2008-09 under then-Superintendent Linda Watson.

In Mr. Poore's first year, the district also beat the state average gains in math in four of eight grades and tied once. It beat the state average in English Language Arts in four of eight grades.

What follows are the past thirteen years' results by grade on the summative exams (2004-2013 State Benchmark, 2015-17 ACT Aspire) for Math and English Language Arts, as well as the biggest single year gains per grade. Numbers indicate percentages proficient (Benchmark) or meeting readiness benchmark (ACT Aspire). While the State Benchmark exam was not nationally normed, the ACT Aspire is, thus the discrepancy in scores.

For one year (2014-15), the State administered the PARCC exam, so the scores the year before and after are incomparable.

  3rd    4th   5th   6h   7th   8th    9th    10th   
Roy Brooks Math  ELA  Math ELA Math ELA Math ELA Math ELA Math ELA Math ELA Math ELA
 2004-05  42  39  37  41  28  37  27  46  30  40  19  46        
 2005-06  51  44  47  48  37  43  39  44  37  45  31  57        
 2006-07  62  50  50  46  45  45  46  38  37  45  29  55        
Linda Watson                                
 2007-08  65  49  61  55  52  50  52  45  39  43  27  55        
 2008-09  67  52  65  57  54  55  63  47  50  48  42  57        
 2009-10  71  58  68  67  62  62  60  57  55  53  43  63        
Watson/Holmes                                
 2010-11  70  62  70  71  65  69  59  56  56  53  42  62        
Morris Holmes                                
 2011-12  73  70  68  77  60  78  57  58  58  66  47  66        
Holmes/Burton                                
 2012-13  76  70  71  76  54  75  50  52  52  62  44  66        
Dexter Suggs                                
 2013-14  74  64  66  75  59  74  55  50  50  59  46  63        
 2014-15 (PARCC)                                
Baker Kurrus                                
 2015-16 (ACT Aspire)  48  33  42  34  38  41  39  40  29  39  24  38  19  36  16  36
Michael Poore                                
 2016-17 (ACT Aspire)  51  34  47  40  41  46  47  48  34  43  29  45  22  37  18  41

Greatest One-Year Gains (Since 2005-06)

  3rd   4th    5th    6th    7th   8th   9th   10th   
  Math ELA  Math ELA Math ELA Math ELA Math ELA Math ELA  Math ELA  Math ELA
2005-06 (Brooks)          +9    +12        +12  +11        
2006-07 (Brooks)  +11  +8                            
2007-08 (Watson)      +11                          
2008-09 (Watson)                  +11              
2009-10 (Watson)        +10        +10                
2010-11 (Holmes)            +9        +13            
2016-17 (Poore)  +3  +1  +5  +6  +3  +5  +8  +8  +5  +4  +5  +7  +3  +1  +2  +5
2016-17 AR Avg. Gain  +2  +3  +1  +8  +4  +4  +7  +5  +5  +6  +6  +5  +2  +4  +3  +4

Sources:

Benchmark
http://www.officeforeducationpolicy.org/arkansas-schools-data-benchmark-examinations

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

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Hard Won Pinnacle View Middle School Should Let Scoreboard Do Talking

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Saturday, August 5, 2017

At the grand opening of Pinnacle View Middle School, the principal reported that the school (sixth grade only in 2016-17) outperformed the state, district and most charter schools, and was close to Benton, Bryant and Conway on ACT Aspire test results.

Yes, Pinnacle outperformed state, district and Little Rock charter averages, but it led in no category in Little Rock. Pinnacle View sixth grade was outperformed by LRSD's Forest Heights STEM Academy sixth grade in every category. And Pinnacle View was exceeded or equaled in every category by an open-enrollment public charter school.

Here are the numbers:

Percentage of Sixth Graders Meeting Readiness Benchmark for:
 
*First, **Second, ***Third in Little Rock

Schools  Math English Reading Writing Science
 Arkansas   47%  70%  41%  42%  40%
           
 Little Rock          
 LRSD Cloverdale  22%  44%  20%  47%  15%
 LRSD Dunbar  44%  59%  30%  56%  24%
 LRSD Forest Heights STEM  77%**  89%*  62%*  77%*  67%*
 LRSD Henderson  27%  47%  19%  40%  15%
 LRSD Mabelvale  44%  49%  20%  39%  12%
 LRSD Mann  57%  66%  38%  55%  40%
 LRSD Pulaski Heights  54%  65%  42%  47%  39%
 LRSD Pinnacle View  64%  85%***  54%***  67%**   57%**
 Charters          
 Covenant Keepers  52%  68%  25%  62%  30%
 eStem  79%*   79%  56%**  59%  57%**
 LIsa Chenal  71%***  80%  46%  67%**  48%
 Little Rock Prep  17%  60%  14%  34%  6%
 Quest  41%  86%**  36%  32%  32%
           
 PCSSD Fuller  35%  50%  23%  34%  22%
 PCSSD Maumelle  47%  61%  31%  51%  35%
 PCSSD Robinson  69%  83%  48%  48%  57%
 PCSSD Sylvan Hills  54%  70%  41%  46%  39%
           
 NLRSD  41%  62%  28%  52%  32%
           
 JNPSD  34%  50%  23%  32%  21%
           
 Benton  75%  80%  53%  57%  59%
           
 Bryant Bethel  78%  88%  70%  76%  70%
 Bryant Middle   65%  80%  52%  68%  54%
           
 Conway Carl Stuart  70%  76%  51%  63%  58%
 Conway Ray/Phyllis Simon  71%  72%  51%  81%  53%

 

Of all mentioned, here are your leaders:

  • Math - eStem (79%)
  • English - LRSD Forest Heights STEM (89%)
  • Reading - Bryant Bethel (70%)
  • Writing - Conway Ray/Phillis Simon (81%)
  • Science - Bryant Bethel (70%)

Pinnacle View is perfectly positioned to become and remain the district's, city's and region's academic performance and growth leader. But rather than the anecdotal, it should always let the scoreboard do the talking.

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LRSD's Academic Distress Schools Receive 67%, 77%, 92% of Students Three Grades or More Below Level

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Print this. Keep it at the ready. And the next time someone suggests that the panacea for the Little Rock School District's ills is "local control," give it to them.

  • LRSD has seven (7) Priority Schools (among lowest 5% academically performing in state)
    • 17.5% of state's total of 40 schools
  • LRSD has fifteen (15) Focus Schools (among lowest 6-10% academically performing in state)
    • 18% of state's total of 85 schools

Consider the self-reported data in the third quarter 45-Day Reports from each of the LRSD Priority Schools:

School % Beginning Year 2 or More
Grade Levels Behind in Math
% Beginning Year 2 or More
Grade Levels Behind in
English Language Arts 
Baseline     
 Grade 2  14.8%  
 Grade 3  31.2%  13%
 Grade 4  31.2%  23%
 Grade 5  44.1%  26%
  % Beginning Year 3 or More
Grade Levels Behind in Math
% Beginning Year 3 or More
Grade Levels Behind in
English Language Arts
 
Cloverdale     
 Grade 6  67%  61%
 Grade 7  65%  63%
 Grade 8  63%  65%
Henderson    
 Grade 6  77%  43%
 Grade 7  79%  35%
 Grade 8  78%  29%
Mabelvale    
 Grade 6  69%  33%
 Grade 7  72%  52%
 Grade 8  77%  52%
Fair    
 Grade 9  95%  76%
 Grade 10  97%  67%
 Grade 11    
 Grade 12    
Hall    
 Grade 9  91.86%  85.56%
 Grade 10  90.06%  70.55%
 Grade 11    
 Grade 12    
McClellan    
 Grade 9  78%  75%
 Grade 10  75%  79%
 Grade 11  50%  77%
 Grade 12  54%  67%

 

See the pattern? With few exceptions (e.g. Henderson's English Language Arts), the longer the students progress in the system, the further they fall behind.

Little Rock has no elementary schools in "Academic Distress," but fourteen of its elementary schools are among the 10% lowest academically performing schools in Arkansas.

When Academic Distress Cloverdale, Henderson and Hall are respectively receiving 67%, 77% and 91.86% of their students three or more grades below level, the pipeline is broken, and the receiving schools are not to blame.

Click the school links above for the full 45-Day Reports, which include other illuminating cause/effect information:

  • Annual Student Achievement Goals
  • Principal's Narrative Report
  • School Improvement Leadership Team's Narrative Report
  • Enrollment/Discipline Data
  • Teacher Attendance Data
  • Student Attendance Data
  • Math Data
  • English Language Arts Data
  • School Summary of Interim Assessments
  • Student Screening Data
  • Summary of Educator/Student School Climate Survey

Unfortunately, no reports are provided by LRSD's Focus Elementary Schools:

  • Bale
  • Chicot
  • Franklin
  • King
  • Pulaski Heights
  • Rockefeller
  • Romine
  • Stephens
  • Wakefield
  • Washington
  • Watson
  • Western Hills
  • Wilson

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Missed City of Little Rock Resolution Opportunities

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Tuesday, May 16, 2017

If educating all students was the priority of the Little Rock Mayor and City Board of Directors, perhaps one or more of the previous Arkansas Department of Education announcements would have warranted a public resolution.

2017

Three (3) LRSD Schools Still in Academic Distress (2014-16 Three-year Average of Less Than 49.5% Proficient) - 20% of State's Total, 2,404 Students Impacted

Seven (7) LRSD Schools Named Priority Schools (Lowest Performing 5% in Arkansas)

Fifteen (15) LRSD Schools Named Focus Schools (Lowest Performing 6-10% in Arkansas)

Twenty-two (22) of the district's 42 tested schools in the bottom 10% in the State.

2016

Five (5) LRSD Schools in Academic Distress (2013-15 Three-year Average of Less Than 49.5% Proficient)

Twenty-three (23) of the district's 42 tested schools in the bottom 10% in the State.

2015

Five (5) LRSD Schools in Academic Distress (2013-2015 Three-year Average of Less Than 49.5% Proficient)

Eight (8) LRSD Schools Named Priority Schools (Lowest Performing 5% in Arkansas)

Fifteen (15) LRSD Schools Named Focus Schools (Lowest Performing 6-10% in Arkansas)

Seventeen (17) LRSD Schools Receive 'D' on State's A-F School Report Card

Twenty-three (23) of the district's 42 tested schools in the bottom 10% in the State.

2014

Six (6) LRSD Schools Named in Academic Distress (2012-2014 Three-year Average of 49.5% or Less Proficient)

Seven (7) LRSD Schools Priority Schools (Lowest Performing 5% in Arkansas)

Nine (9) LRSD Schools Focus Schools (Lowest Performing 6-10% in Arkansas)

Fourteen (14) LRSD Schools Receive an 'D' on State's First A-F School Report Card.  

Eight (8) LRSD Schools Receive an 'F' on State's First A-F School Report Card.  

Sixteen (16) of the district's 42 tested schools in the bottom 10% in the State.

2013

Six (6) LRSD Named in Academic Distress (2011-2013 Three-year Average of 49.5% or Less Proficient)

Seven (7) LRSD Schools Priority Schools (Lowest Performing 5% in Arkansas)

Nine (9) LRSD Schools Focus Schools (Lowest Performing 6-10% in Arkansas)

Sixteen (16) of the district's 42 tested schools in the bottom 10% in the State.

2012

Seven (7) LRSD Schools Still Priority Schools (Lowest Performing 5% in Arkansas)

Nine (9) LRSD Schools Still Focus Schools (Lowest Performing 6-10% in Arkansas)

Sixteen (16) of the district's 42 tested schools performed in the bottom 10% in the State.

2011

Eight (8) LRSD Schools Named Priority Schools (Lowest Performing 5% in Arkanas)

Ten (10) LRSD Schools Named Focus Schools (Lowest Performing 6-10% in Arkansas) 

Eighteen (18) of the district's 42 tested schools performed in the bottom 10% in the State.

 

Schools could not be added to the federally required 2011 Focus and Priority lists; they could only emerge. In four years, only two LRSD schools did, but one of those returned on the new list in 2015, along with six additional schools, totaling more than half of those tested. No schools emerged in 2017.

And yet, there were no resolutions, no petitions...no rallies.

When the non-proficiency of a student becomes a greater catalyst for outrage and action than the non-renewal of an adult and/or who is or is not in control of the district and its vast resources, Little Rock and her people will finally progress as a community.

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Vote Happened, Needs Remain, Consensus Emerges

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Wednesday, May 10, 2017

On Tuesday, May 9th, just over ten percent (11,105) of the Little Rock School District's registered voters cast ballots. Nearly two-thirds of those rejected the plan to refinance and extend the district's debt in order to build a new Little Rock Southwest High School, repurpose McClellan, and make capital improvements to every campus in the district.

The vote wasn't close, losing nearly two-to-one. FOR voters only carried nine precincts - five in West Little Rock, two in the Heights, and two on Woodlawn.

For perspective, on May 9, 2000 - exactly seventeen years ago, 12.96% of registered voters (16,486) cast ballots to increase the district's millage from 41.4 mills to the current 46.4 for the next thirty years. The official results were 9,335 (56.6%) FOR, 7,151 (43.4%) AGAINST.

With all the passion surrounding this election, 5,381 fewer voters participated. That tells us something. But as we saw with the campaign, meaning resides in the eyes of the beholders.

Precinct Address FOR Percentage AGAINST Percentage Turnout
58 16025 Taylor Loop Rd 48 52.75 31 47.25 10.13
63 300 Parkway Pl 0 0.00 0 0.00 0.00
65 12415 Cantrell Rd 44 42.72 59 57.28 8.96
66 12900 Cantrell Rd 92 44.23 116 55.77 11.34
67 3700 N Rodney Parham 79 40.10 118 59.90 9.61
68 16025 Taylor Loop Rd 151 52.98 134 47.02 12.50
69 62 Pleasant Valley Dr 127 49.03 132 50.97 12.57
70 10900 Rodney Parham 117 49.58 119 50.42 19.03
71 12301 Hinson Rd 170 47.89 185 52.11 14.21
72 10900 Rodney Parham 20 24.39 62 75.61 5.92
73 300 Parkway Place 94 51.93 87 48.07 10.07
74 12301 Hinson Rd 46 37.70 76 62.30 7.99
75 701 Napa Valley Rd 42 35.59 76 64.41 5.80
76 300 Parkway Pl 35 27.78 91 72.22 7.00
77 701 Napa Valley Rd 8 57.14 6 42.86 4.68
78 10001 Kanis Rd 37 28.46 93 71.54 6.19
79 13000 W Baseline 12 24.49 37 75.51 5.53
80 13000 W Baseline 56 24.24 175 75.76 9.22
81 10300 Mabelvale West 28 31.82 60 68.18 4.36
82 7601 Baseline Rd 21 21.00 79 79.00 4.85
83 9621 Tall Timber Rd 43 17.13 208 82.87 10.91
84 9400 Col. Glenn Rd 26 9.89 237 90.11 11.48
85 10001 Kanis Rd 37 24.03 117 75.97 6.47
86 1701 S Harrison St 16 11.85 119 88.15 10.69
87 9820 W Markham 48 29.63 114 70.37 9.67
88 321 Pleasant Valley Dr 109 37.85 179 62.15 14.75
89 1818 Reservoir Rd 49 35.25 90 64.75 7.40
90 600 Pleasant Valley Dr 185 60.86 119 39.14 18.35
91 2710 McKinley 128 47.76 140 52.24 16.70
92 2223 Durwood Rd 88 39.64 134 60.36 15.19
93 1200 N Mississippi 82 38.14 133 61.86 12.71
94 1200 N Mississippi 97 49.24 100 50.76 13.58
95 9301 Rodney Parham 115 39.25 178 60.75 14.24
96 1000 N Mississippi 77 49.68 78 50.32 16.79
97 7525 W Markham 25 22.32 87 77.68 8.21
98 1709 Barrow Rd 16 14.29 96 85.71 6.58
99 6401 W 32nd 33 27.05 89 72.95 8.30
100 6401 W 32nd 4 7.69 48 92.31 5.62
101 9621 Tall Timber Blvd 14 15.38 77 84.62 7.95
102 5630 Mabelvale Pike 18 16.67 90 83.33 6.51
103 6219 Baseline Rd 34 26.56 94 73.44 7.10
104 10610 Chicot Rd 32 16.16 166 83.34 8.66
105 9300 Geyer Springs 28 22.76 95 77.24 7.95
106 5220 Kavanaugh Blvd 222 66.47 112 33.53 21.14
107 5220 Kavanaugh Blvd 297 72.63 112 27.38 31.22
108 5520 Woodlawn Dr 166 62.64 99 37.36 18.65
109 4401 Woodlawn Dr 257 45.57 307 54.43 20.00
110 5520 Woodlawn Dr 46 53.49 40 46.51 7.47
111 4823 Woodlawn Dr 86 33.99 167 66.01 9.06
112 4401 Woodlawn Dr 29 21.01 109 78.99 12.40
113 2715 W 7th St 41 15.71 220 84.29 15.31
114 501 E 9th St 46 29.11 112 70.89 8.10
115 1701 S Harrison St 15 8.43 163 91.57 9.30
116 1200 Lewis St 5 5.26 90 94.74 6.57
117 1513 Park St 12 9.52 114 90.48 5.43
118 1001 W 16th St 27 13.43 174 86.57 9.75
119 1720 W 23rd St 25 15.06 141 84.94 9.34
120 4800 W 26th St 6 6.74 83 93.26 4.41
121 5500 Geyer Springs Rd 12 11.32 94 88.68 5.38
122 2901 W Roosevelt Rd 13 15.85 69 84.15 5.60
123 7701 Scott Hamilton 8 25.81 23 74.19 1.82
124 7701 Scott Hamilton 21 23.86 67 76.14 4.19
125 3623 Baseline Rd 6 14.29 36 85.71 5.56
128 2701 S Main St 46 19.41 191 80.59 10.18
129 7500 Lindsey Rd 8 19.51 33 80.49 6.25
130 4801 Frazier Pike 6 40.00 9 60.00 7.85
134 2500 E 6th St 5 9.26 49 90.74 5.33
135 2801 Springer Blvd 2 10.53 17 89.47 12.75
TOTAL 3,938 35.46 7,167 64.54 10.04

 

Throughout the campaign, opponents of the millage extension countered that the district should use its "surplus" debt service mills for the proposed construction and capital improvements. The problem is, since 2000, when voters increased the millage from 41.4 mills to 46.4, with 12.4 mills dedicated to debt service, elected boards and administrations have used any "surplus" for operations. As a result, over two-thirds of debt service mills are not being used as voters intended - for debt service.

Superintendent Poore and Commissioner Key should honor the decisions of voters yesterday and seventeen years ago and cut the 2017-18 budget by nearly $30,000,000 in order to free 100% of those bonds to finance, perhaps via second lien bonds, the Little Rock Southwest High School, as well as much needed capital improvements throughout the district.

While it will be far more painful than what the Superintendent and Commissioner originally proposed, the voters have spoken.

Notes on Turnout

  • Highest Turnout Percentage: 31.22% (Precinct 107, 5220 Kavanaugh Blvd)
  • Lowest Turnout Percentage: 1.82% (Precinct 123, 7701 Scott Hamilton Dr)
  • Highest Vote Total: 664 (Precinct 109, 4401 Woodlawn Dr)
  • Lowest Vote Total: 14 (Precinct 77, 701 Napa Valley Rd)
  • Highest FOR Total: 297 (Precinct 107, 5220 Kavanaugh Blvd)
  • Highest FOR Percentage: 72.53% (Precinct 107, 5220 Kavanaugh Blvd)
  • Lowest FOR Total: 2 (Precinct 135, 2801 Springer Blvd)
  • Lowest FOR Percentage: 5.26% (Precinct 116, 1200 Lewis St)
  • Highest AGAINST Total: 307 (Precinct 109, 4401 Woodlawn Dr)
  • Highest AGAINST Percentage: 94.74% (Precinct 116, 1200 Lewis St)
  • Lowest AGAINST Total: 6 (Precinct 77, 701 Napa Valley Rd)
  • Lowest AGAINST Percentage: 27.38% (Precinct 106, 5220 Kavanaugh Blvd)

Notes on West Little Rock
*Hyperlink indicates precinct located in or proximate to West Little Rock.

  • 1,367 (46.23%) FOR
  • 1,590 (53.77%) AGAINST
  • 34.71% of Total FOR Votes
  • 22.19% of Total AGAINST Votes
  • 16 of 67 Total Precincts (23.88%)
  • 2,957 Total Votes (26.63% of Overall Total)

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Voting Yes for the Kids

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Tuesday, May 9, 2017

By Ed Bullington

Fifty Year Patron of the Schools in the County of Pulaski

 

 I am voting without hesitation to extend the millage for the Little Rock School District to finance much-needed construction, repair, remodeling, and other needs for the District.  I have listened to and read numerous articles citing the opponents.  And while I agree that they may have philosophical merit to their arguments against the millage, I find absolutely no practical, child-focused value regarding the welfare of the students with their opposition.

 

 To postpone a vote to secure much-needed financing for crucial learning and teaching environments within the district does a tremendous disservice to the students.  One year in the life of a child, positive-or-negative, can have life-long adverse or positive impact on a child’s ability to succeed in life.  If a child is not on grade level at the conclusion of third grade, research clearly demonstrates that that child is not likely to do well for the remainder of his yearsAnd as I learned while visiting with ADCofficials and inmates while teaching Government, Civics, and History to students about our system of justice, the steps inmatestook to wind up in prison were 1) not succeeding in class, 2) becoming frustrated and discipline problem, 3) being truant and engaging in petty criminal activities which as they age through the school system they become more aggressive and serious and end up being arrested, charged, and convicted and in the prison system. A year in a good, healthy, bright, cheerful learning environment at an early age can turn that child around.  Parents (of students) in LRSD public K-5 schools with students who are at fourth or fifth grade level are seriously exploring choices for their children as they enter an older school-age population with concerns for academics, security, or other issues.  So we lose those parents andthose kids if they can go somewhere else, all to the detriment of the LRSD and all students.

 

 This election is not about who is in charge, it is about an opportunity to provide a safer, cleaner, sounder learning environment.  It is about keeping kids in LRSD, not losing them to alternative education choices.  For example, at the new Pinnacle School on Highway 10, survey of parents in that attendance zoneshowed that 30% said they would stay in public schools, while 70% said they would go somewhere else.  But when the school opened, many of those families within the 70% stayed.  And the school is a good, balanced mixture of white, black, and hispanicstudents staying in LRSD, not moving away.

 

 I do not worry about local control or taxation without representation.  To put things in a little bit of context, let’s consider the history of the “elected Board”.  I have observed the Little Rock School District Board in person on Markham Street and on television, radio, and on cable television since the mid-80s.  What I have often observed is a malfunctioning board that has too often engaged in in-fighting, senseless arguing, verbal jabs, and other conflict behavior far beneath that of a group as prestigious as that of a board of the largest district in the state.  And they have as a board been too willing to blame someone else for their problems:  PCSSD, NLRSD, etc.  There have been many dedicated, conscientious, civic-minded, committed patrons who sought election and won a seat on the board with a primary focus on the children and teachers and serving with honor and ethics.  But one or two on a small member board can be very disruptive.

 

 This election is not about fragile egos or power.  The elected board over the past 30 years has hired 23 superintendents for an average tenure of 1.3 years.  This is not stability.  It does not instill confidence within the public for the school district and its public officials.  It is about an elected board that has an historic reputation for divisiveness, conflict, ad hominin attacks and disruptive interference in administrative roles charged with running the district.  It is about an elected board who has received approximately one billion dollars from the state above normal funding from local and state funding to improve academic performance.  With almost one billion dollars plus multiple other billions of dollars over the past 30 years, the academic performance of all students from all schools not just those six schools identified as academically distressed is important.  And thousands of additional students in the remaining forty-two schools are failing at below the 50% minimum threshold.

 

 Of course I want and we all want restored local control.  We want to hold leadership personally accountable.  The key to restoring local control may very well be a positive outcome on this vote demonstrating responsible action for the kids.

 

 This election is about the kids.  The children.  It is about the condition of the teaching and learning environment.  Not boardmembers who were removed under authority of state law signed bya governor all of whom collectively received hundreds of thousands of votes from citizens in elections.  It is important to note that in LRSD elections from 2012 - 2016 the turnout was anywhere from 295 votes to 1508 votes—for an average vote of 8.26% of registered voters.  And if you factor in those who are actually eligible to vote, the average percentage drops to 6.3%.  In other words, over 90% of the adults in the city of Little Rock who have had an opportunity to vote and voice their opinion have chosen not to.  If you care about the kids, the children, you will set aside hurt feelings, philosophical differences and focus solely on the children:  to keep kids in the schools and parents active in the district, not losing them to other educational settings.  Little Rock School District voters will vote for or against, but those who vote will exercise their constitutional guaranteed voice.  As one opponent commented, this election is like voting “. . .under conditions you might find in a developing country.” She also referred to the election as political extortion.  Such rhetoric isdesigned to inflame emotion rather than clear-headed, decision-making for what is best for the children, not what is best for individual board members.  We will have an open, fair election.

 

 The Arkansas Board of Education is comprised of highly qualified,committed individuals who from all apparent appearances are seriously concerned about public education.  Three of whom I know well enough to identify by name with the knowledge that they will not let the best interest of the kids be subverted by an appointed “superintendent or board”:  Jay Barth, Fritz Hill, and Diane Zook.

 

 The LRSD Board (Johnny Key) is not the issue.

 

 To call this election “taxation without representation” is a wholly false descriptor.  The people of the district will either vote for or against the millage extension, it is not an increase.  If they vote for the millage election, I feel very confident that there are committed members on the state board who will make sure that the dollars are spent for “much needed building replacement in Southwest Little Rock, renovations in Southwest Little Rock, restroom renovations at eight schools, roof replacements at thirteen schools, safety installations with major fire alarm systems, air conditioners for hot cafeterias, window replacements at twelve schools.  All of which will meet critical needs to place our children in a safe, clean,climate-controlled, dry, cheerful learning environment.

 

 Personally, I am a product of the public schools, as are my parents and my four brothers.  My daughter is a graduate of the LRSD, my granddaughter attended public schools within the city for four years.  I do not give a darn about Johnny Key, Governor Asa Hutchinson, or others cited to justify a no vote.  As I have done for 50 years in Little Rock, I do care enough about the kids, the children, their learning environment.  I will cast a proud vote for the millage extension, For The Kids!!!! 

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LRSD Facilities Plans: Theirs, His or Yours

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Monday, May 1, 2017

Here are the plans. Though we vehemently disagree, opponents' not wanting the district to progress while in State control is a valid position. But opponents of the proposed millage refinance/extension won't admit that. Instead, they attack and oppose the lowest cost public finance option, even when their own very public plans were much more financially burdensome to the district and taxpayers.

Then-Local School Board - Increase Taxes $375,000,000 - January 22, 2015

LRSD Board Minutes, January 22, 2015

Board Unanimously Approves Proposed Facilities Plan, January 22, 2015

Little Rock Facilities Master Plan, Fanning Howey, May 27, 2014

"Little Rock School Board unanimously approves facilities plan, millage campaign," Arkansas Times, January 22, 2015

Then-Superintendent Baker Kurrus - Borrow $165,000,000 at 4.5% Interest for 30 Years - June 15, 2015

Report to Civic Advisory Committee, Page 11 (Financial Responsibility and Planning); Page 13, Paragraph 3

Superintendent Mike Poore - Refinance, Extend Existing Debt at Lowest Rate - May 9, 2017

LRSD Planned Capital Improvement Projects

While the former superintendent may claim circumstances have changed, he didn't acknowledge then, nor does he now that the district's annual property tax receipts grew $38,503,441 over the past ten years. That's the equivalent of current dollar state funding for 5,747 new students and an average annual increase of $3,850,344 (575 students).

Seven people decided the first plan. One person proposed the second. On May 9th, voters will decide the third. May the immediate best interests of students guide our decision.

 Attached Files:

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PCSSD Serves Little Rock Too

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Saturday, April 29, 2017

While leaders debate and voters decide whether or not to refinance and extend Little Rock School District's (LRSD's) debt to build, refurbish facilities, the other school district which serves portions Little Rock has a similar vote on June 13th.

The Pulaski County Special School District (PCSSD), which was taken over by the State in 2010 for Fiscal Distress, returned to local from State control in November. Like neighboring LRSD, it proposes not a millage increase, but a refinance and extension of its debt in order to build, refurbish facilities throughout the district.

The same PCSSD superintendent appointed by then-Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Tom Kimbrell, Dr. Jerry Guess, still serves the district under its newly elected board. Dr. Guess is aligned politically with many of the same folks opposing LRSD's millage, so their silence and lack of opposition to PCSSD's June 13th election speaks volumes regarding the real motivation behind opposition to LRSD's millage extension.

It's not about the merits of the millage; it's about who is in control.

Incidentally, the PCSSD board, newly elected in November, voted unanimously to participate in Inter-district School Choice in 2018, so its new, refurbished Mills and Robinson High Schools and Fuller and Robinson Middle Schools will be available to LRSD students/families. Neighboring North Little Rock, Bryant and Benton School Districts have built/refurbished and/or are building/refurbishing. While LRSD millage opponents cry wolf over enrollment capped open-enrollment public charter schools, neighboring districts may enroll up to 3% of any other district's enrollment in a given year.

Its neighbors aren't waiting. LRSD will either compete or it won't. Waiting for return to local control in 1 year, 2 years or 2 years and seven months serves no one except those who long benefitted from the district's dysfunction?

Source: Arkansas Schools Data

Demographics (2016-17) PCSSD LRSD
Enrollment 12,199 22,759
Gifted & Talented 14% 23%
Special Education 13% 12%
Homeless 3% 2%
Limited English Proficiency 6% 13%
Free and Reduced Lunch 54% 71%
White 44% 18%
Hispanic 8% 14%
Black 42% 64%
Other 6% 4%
Minority 56% 82%
Poverty Index 100% 135%
     
Employment PCSSD
LRSD
Certified Teachers 852 1,658
Classified Staff 1,191 1,518
Certified Staff 239 577
     
PCSSD's most recent financial data are from 2015-16, the year before
separation of the Jacksonville-North Pulaski County School District.
The following numbers are for comparative purposes only.
Finances (2015-16) PCSSD LRSD
Per Pupil Expenditures $13,934 $15,471
Base Teacher Salary
BA (0 Years)
$34,106 $35,232
Base Teacher Salary
MA (0 Years)
$39,806 $40,550
Base Teacher Salary
Top of Schedule
$69,206 $68,634
Average Teacher Salary $51,740 $57,265
Property Assessment
$2,490,356,153 $3,477,675,908
Ten-year Increase in Annual Property Tax Receipts $42,813,622   $38,503,441
Total Mills 40.70 46.4
Maintenance & Operations (M&O) Mills 25 32
Uniform Rate of Taxation (URT) Mills 25 25
Mills in Excess of URT 0 7
Dedicated M&O Mills .90 2
Debt Service Mills 14.8 12.4
Total Debt Bond/Non-Bond $189,845,000 $186,213,197
Property Tax Receipts (Including URT) $110,441,842 $158,381,815
State Foundation Funding (Excluding URT) $39,657,639 $64,268,031
Total Unrestricted Revenue from State, Local Sources $157,732,217 $235,801,841
Total Restricted Revenue from State Sources $36,046,785 $73,277,673
Total Restricted Revenue from Federal Sources $18,282,636 $36,185,659
Total Revenue and Other Sources of Funds from All Sources $268,482,599 $346,174,396
Facilities Acquisition & Construction $12,018,265 $18,135,027
Debt Service $9,985,831 $10,220,340
Building Fund Balance $69,514,709 $4,562,464
Facilities
Area in Square Miles 729.83 97.35
Number of Schools 24 46
Number of Schools with Enrollment Below 500 (State Funding Matrix) 13 24
Number of High Schools 4 5
Number of Middle Schools/Junior Highs 4 7
Number of Elementary Schools 16 29
Number of Other 0 5

 

Quick Takeaways:

  • PCSSD's assessed valuation was $987,319,755 lower than Little Rock's.
  • PCSSD's millage is 5.7 mills lower than Little Rock's.
  • PCSSD paid $234,509 less in annual Debt Service than does Little Rock.
  • PCSSD's Debt Service mills are 2.4 mills higher than Little Rock's.
  • PCSSD's Total Debt was $3,631,803 more than Little Rock's.
  • PCSSD spent $6,116,762 less per year to acquire, construct facilities than does Little Rock.
  • PCSSD had $64,952,245 more in its Building Fund than does Little Rock.
  • PCSSD's total area was 7.5 times that of Little Rock, and yet it had 14 (30%) fewer schools.

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A Tale of Two Districts: Springdale and Little Rock

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Saturday, April 29, 2017

The two most comparable districts in Arkansas in regard to enrollment are Springdale and Little Rock. Though only separated by 1,242 students, their budget numbers and assets vary wildly.

The numbers tell the tale of how Springdale has vastly superior facilities on far less revenue than and essentially equal debt to Little Rock.

Source: Arkansas Schools Data

 Demographics (2016-17)  Springdale  Little Rock
 Enrollment   21,527  22,759
 Gifted & Talented  9%  23%
 Special Education  10%  12%
 Homeless  1%  2%
 Limited English Proficiency  48%  13%
 Free and Reduced Lunch  71%  71%
 White  35%  18%
 Hispanic  46%  14%
 Black  2%  64%
 Other  16%  4%
 Minority  65%  82%
 Poverty Index  132%  135%
     
 Employment    
 Certified Teachers  1,432  1,658
 Classified Staff  1,090  1,518
 Certified Staff  291  577
     
 Finances (2015-16)  Springdale  Little Rock
 Per Pupil Expenditures  $12,746  $15,471
 Base Teacher Salary
 BA (0 Years)
 $48,816  $35,232
 Base Teacher Salary
 MA (0 Years)
 $49,340  $40,550
 Base Teacher Salary
 Top of Schedule
 $75,316  $68,634
 Average Teacher Salary  $59,143  $57,265
     
 Property Assessment  $1,568,648,753  $3,477,675,908
 Total Mills  40.6  46.4
 Maintenance & Operations (M&O) Mills  25  32
 Uniform Rate of Taxation (URT) Mills  25  25
 Mills in Excess of URT  0  7
 Dedicated M&O Mills  0  2
 Debt Service Mills  15.5  12.4
 Total Debt Bond/Non-Bond  $184,600,456  $186,213,197
 Property Tax Receipts (Including URT)  $61,091,081  $158,381,815
 State Foundation Funding (Excluding URT)  $100,827,838  $64,268,031
 Total Unrestricted Revenue from State, Local Sources   $170,820,331  $235,801,841
 Total Restricted Revenue from State Sources  $34,825,391  $73,277,673
 Total Restricted Revenue from Federal Sources  $34,873,488  $36,185,659
 Total Revenue and Other Sources of Funds from All Sources  $263,255,053  $346,174,396
     
 Facilities Acquisition & Construction  $40,111,518  $18,135,027
 Debt Service  $10,879,651  $10,220,340
 Building Fund Balance  $35,139,687  $4,562,464
     
 Facilities    
 Area in Square Miles  184.43  97.35
 Number of Schools  29  46
 Number of Schools with Enrollment Below 500 (State Funding Matrix)  0  24
 Number of High Schools  2  5
 Number of Middle Schools/Junior Highs  8  7
 Number of Elementary Schools  18  29
 Number of Other  1  5

 

Quick Takeaways:

  • Springdale's assessed valuation is $1,909,027,155 lower than Little Rock's.
  • Springdale's millage is 5.8 mills lower than Little Rock's.
  • Springdale pays more in annual Debt Service than does Little Rock.
  • Springdale's Debt Service mills are 3.1 mills higher than Little Rock's.
  • Springdale's Total Debt is just $1,612,741 less than Little Rock's.
  • Springdale spends $21,976,491 more per year to acquire, construct facilities than does Little Rock.
  • Springdale has $30,577,223 more in its Building Fund than does Little Rock.
  • Springdale's total area is double that of Little Rock, and yet it has 18 (37%) fewer schools.

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'Their' Data, 'Our' Data...and Data (2017)

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Monday, April 17, 2017

Want to know the real demographics of every public school in the Little Rock School District (LRSD) footprint? Don't listen to "them." Don't listen to "us." Go first person. Read it yourself, straight from adedatabeta.arkansas.gov.

For context, according to  U.S. Census, the City of Little Rock is:

  • 47% White
  • 42% Black
  • 6% Hispanic
  • 5% Other
  • 18% Below Poverty Index

According to Metroplan, in 2012, the last time LRSD's seven board zones were redrawn, the 178,391 residents of the LRSD were:

  • 47% White (84,513)
  • 44% Black (78,724)
  • 7% Hispanic (12,551)
  • 1.5% Other (2,603)

Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL)

Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL), the longtime education euphemism for poverty, no longer means what it did. For example, beginning in 2014-15, schools with 40% or more identified Free Lunch students in the previous school year could qualify for 100% free breakfast and lunch through the federal Community Eligibility Provision. Identified students are those certified for free meals without the use of household applications (e.g. those directly certified through SNAP - Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).

How has this impacted FRL percentages? In 2014-15, only two schools in all of Arkansas had 100% FRL students. In 2015-16, there were 153, led by LRSD with 31, including Forest Heights STEM Academy. The year before Community Eligibility Provision was available, LRSD was 63% FRL, 18 points lower than 2015-16.

So, 100% FRL simply meant all students, no matter their income, are receiving free breakfast and lunch.

In 2015-16, LRSD incorrectly reported its FRL data, listing schools participating in Community Eligibility Provision as 100% FRL. That was corrected in 2016-17, thus the 10 point drop in FRL. The Arkansas school and district average is 61%.

For perspective, the median income for an Arkansas family of four is $41,995. According to federal guidelines, families of four with a household income of $44,955 or less qualify for reduced price lunch.

LRSD Free and Reduced Lunch Percentages

  • 2016-17: 71% (After Community Eligibility Provision)
  • 2015-16: 81% (After Community Eligibility Provision)
  • 2014-15: 75% (After Community Eligibility Provision)
  • 2013-14: 63%
  • 2012-13: 72%
  • 2011-12: 71%
  • 2010-11: 70%
  • 2009-10: 70%
  • 2008-09: 65%
  • 2007-08: 64%
  • 2006-07: 62%
  • 2005-06: 62%
  • 2004-05: 59%

High Schools (9-12)

School Enroll. SPED
*
LEP
** 
FRL
***
White Hispanic Black Other Min. Admiss. 
Central
(LRSD)
2,481 6% 3% 48% 29% 5% 58% 9% 71% Residence;
Magnet 
eStem
(Charter)
484 7% 1% 27% 37% 6% 51% 6% 63% Open;
Blind Lottery 
Fair
(LRSD)
901 14% 6% 82% 4% 8% 87% 1% 96% Residence 
Hall
(LRSD)
1,135 14% 27% 78% 5% 29% 64% 2% 95% Residence
LISA
(Charter)
365 6% 1% 42% 24% 17% 47% 12% 76% Open;
Blind Lottery
McClellan
(LRSD)
806 15% 5% 85% 3% 7% 89% 1% 97% Residence
Parkview
(LRSD)
1,137 5% 11%  61% 20% 16% 61% 3% 80% Magnet
Premier
(Charter)
109 11% 0% 65% 9% 3% 88% 0% 91% Open;
Blind Lottery
SIA Tech
(Charter)
171 3% 0% 82% 3% 5% 91% 1% 97% Open;
Blind Lottery

*Special Education Percentage
** Limited English Proficiency

*
**Free and Reduced Lunch Percentage

Highest Percentages

  • SPED - McClellan (15%)
  • LEP - Hall (27%)
  • FRL - McClellan (85%)
  • Hispanic - Hall (29%)
  • Black - SIA Tech (91%)
  • Other - LISA (12%)
  • Minority - SIA Tech (97%)

Middle Schools (6-8)

School
Enroll. SPED
*
LEP
**
FRL
***
White Hisp. Black Other Min. Admiss.

Cloverdale
(LRSD)

576 13% 28% 92% 2% 31% 66% 1% 98% Residence 
Covenant Keepers
(Charter)
180 4% 42% 94% 0% 53% 46% 1% 100% Open;
Blind Lottery
Dunbar (LRSD) 648 13% 7% 88% 5% 8% 86% 1% 95% Magnet 
eStem
(5-8) (Charter)
501 7% 1% 36% 43% 6% 46% 6% 57% Open;
Blind Lottery
Henderson
(LRSD)
693 14% 10% 84% 4% 12% 82% 2% 96% Residence 
LISA
(7-8) (Charter)
356 5% 6% 35% 20% 16% 38% 26% 80% Open;
Blind Lottery
Little Rock Prep
(5-8) (Charter)
152 11% 0% 86% 2% 14% 84% 0% 98% Open;
Blind Lottery
Mabelvale
(LRSD)
601 15% 15% 89% 5% 16% 77% 2% 95% Residence
Mann
(LRSD)
818 11% 12% 70% 15% 16% 65% 4% 85% Magnet 
Pinnacle View
(6) (LRSD)
222 13% 8% 52%  41% 2% 46% 10% 59% Elem.
Residence 
Pulaski Heights
(LRSD)
744 12% 2% 53% 39% 3% 55% 3% 61% Residence 
Quest (6-10)
(Charter)****
192 17% 0% 12% 60% 7% 22% 11% 40% Open;
Blind Lottery

**** In Pulaski County Special School District

Highest Percentages

  • SPED - Quest (17%)
  • LEP - Covenant Keepers (42%)
  • FRL - Covenant Keepers (94%)
  • White - Quest (60%)
  • Hispanic - Covenant Keepers (53%)
  • Black - Dunbar (86%)
  • Other - LISA (26%)
  • Minority - Covenant Keepers (100%)

K-8 Schools 

School Enroll. SPED
*
LEP
** 
FRL
***
White Hisp. Black Other Min. Admiss. 
Exalt (K-8) 307 4% 26% 96% 2% 51% 45% 1% 98% Open;
Blind Lottery
Forest Heights
STEM (K-8)
(LRSD)
687 8% 8%  44% 35% 7% 51% 7% 65% Application
Rockbridge
Montessori
(K-8) (Charter)
151 7% 0%  56% 18% 6% 68% 9% 82% Open;
Blind Lottery

 

Elementary Schools (P-5)

School Enroll. SPED
*
LEP
** 
FRL
***
White Hisp. Black Other Min. Admiss. 
Bale (LRSD) 347 18% 13%
83% 9% 13% 75% 4% 91% Residence
Baseline (LRSD) 296 16% 53%
96% 4% 55% 40% 1% 96% Residence
Booker (LRSD) 443 10% 14%
85% 11% 18% 67% 5% 89% Magnet
Brady (LRSD) 386 10% 8%
90% 7% 11% 80% 1% 93% Residence
Carver (K-5) (LRSD) 242 17% 10%
66% 14% 15% 67% 4% 86% Residence
Chicot (LRSD) 526 12% 35%
91% 4% 37% 56% 2% 96% Residence
Dodd (K-5) (LRSD) 266 6% 39%
89% 6% 43% 48% 2% 94% Residence
eStem
(K-4) (Charter)
501 7% 1%
36% 43% 6% 46% 6% 57% Open;
Blind Lottery
Forest Park (LRSD) 425 9% 5%
18% 74% 5% 16% 5% 26% Residence
Franklin (LRSD) 269 20% 2%
92% 5% 4% 90% 1% 95%
Residence
Fulbright (LRSD) 572 16% 5%
47% 39% 7% 47% 7% 61% Residence
Gibbs (K-5) (LRSD) 286 7% 5%
52% 29% 5% 63% 4% 71% Magnet
Jefferson (LRSD) 361 12% 2%
31% 72% 3% 21% 4% 28% Residence
King (LRSD) 384 15% 0%
89% 4% 2% 93% 1% 96% Residence
LISA Academy
(K-6) (Charter)
540 4% 12% 57% 14% 21% 49% 16% 86% Open;
Blind Lottery
Little Rock Prep
(K-4) (Charter)
259 9% 1%
83% 0% 8% 92% 0% 100% Open;
Blind Lottery
Mabelvale (LRSD) 490 9% 24%
91% 8% 25% 65% 2% 92% Residence
McDermott (LRSD) 323 16% 10%
75% 7% 11% 81% 1% 93% Residence
Meadowcliff (LRSD) 355 14% 17%
95% 5% 19% 75% 1% 95% Residence
Otter Creek (LRSD) 489 12% 22%
79% 7% 25% 66% 2% 93% Residence
Pulaski Heights
(LRSD)
304 11% 2%
51% 50% 4% 42% 4% 50% Residence
Roberts
(K-5) (LRSD)
885 10% 14%
33% 57% 4% 23% 16% 43% Residence
Rockefeller (LRSD) 365 16% 3%
82% 3% 3% 91% 2% 97% Residence
Romine (LRSD) 241 18% 11%
85% 5% 10% 85% 0% 95% Residence
Stephens (LRSD) 319 18% 2%
87% 2% 2% 94% 2% 98% Residence
Terry (LRSD) 381 10% 14%
76% 13% 14% 68% 5% 87% Residence
Wakefield (LRSD) 549 9% 31%
97% 2% 34% 63% 1% 98% Residence
Washington (LRSD) 386 22% 1%
94% 3% 1% 94% 2% 97% Residence
Watson (LRSD) 504 9% 35%
95% 3% 38% 58% 1% 97% Residence
Western Hills (LRSD) 199 18% 16%
88% 11% 18% 69% 2% 89% Residence
Williams (LRSD) 500 8% 16%
58% 24% 8% 56% 12% 76% Magnet 
Wilson (LRSD) 316 19% 21%
92% 3% 29% 65% 3% 97% Residence

 

Highest Percentages

  • SPED - Washington (22%)
  • LEP - Baseline (53%)
  • FRL - Wakefield (97%)
  • White - Forest Park (74%)
  • Hispanic - Baseline (55%)
  • Black - Stephens, Washington (94%)
  • Other - LISA, Roberts (16%)
  • Minority - Little Rock Preparatory Academy (100%)

Fast Facts

  • The public school that most reflects the demographics of the City of Little Rock? LRSD Pulaski Heights Elementary
  • The public school that most reflects the demographics of the LRSD? Rockbridge Montessori Charter
  • The most Black/White balanced public school in the footprint? eStem Public Charter Schools Elementary and Middle
  • The most multi-culturally diverse public school in the footprint? LISA Academy Middle
  • The most segregated public school in the footprint (Black)? LRSD Stephens and Washington Elementaries
  • The most segregated public school in the footprint (White)? LRSD Forest Park Elementary
  • The most segregated public school in the footprint (Hispanic)? LRSD Baseline Elementary 
  • The only public school in the footprint with zero White students and 100% Minority? Little Rock Prep Elementary
  • Seventeen LRSD schools are 70% or more one race: five 70-79%, seven 80-89%, and five 90-100%
  • No open-enrollment public charter school in LRSD footprint is above 45% White. Four LRSD schools are above 45% White - Pulaski Heights Elementary (50%), Roberts Elementary (57%), Jefferson Elementary (72%), and Forest Park Elementary (74%). Quest, in PCSSD, is 60% White.

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