University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

State Board Meeting

In The View from the OEP on May 17, 2011 at 6:00 pm

Monday, May 16, 2011 the State Board of Education met for their monthly meeting. The full day meeting was packed with information and at times, a little excitement. One of the most pleasant parts of the meeting was the Recognition of Master Principal Awardees by the Arkansas Leadership Academy. These are the principals that have completed the Master Principal Program. At the beginning of the meeting, a slew of schools requested waiver days for weather-related school closings. Now, if you are thinking that this is an unusual time of year for these
waivers to be requested, you’re right on track. But it is also unusual for Arkansas to endure historic flooding and tornadoes as several parts of the states experienced in April. Not every request made was approved. Most of the districts were awarded one day, while a few were awarded two, and Vilonia was awarded four days.

An existing charter school in Little Rock asked for a few amendments to their charter including a different management structure, increased class size, and expansion of grades served. Two of the three of these amendments were granted. The management structure was not approved. If the school would like to try to alter the management structure again, the administration will have to re-apply to the State Board with more information regarding the proposed management structure.

An unprecedented case went before the board to alter school boundary lines between Horatio and Foreman. Foreman requested to annex the area which previously served the Winthrop School District (now consolidated with Horatio). A slim majority of the students from the area previously considered Winthrop School District are enrolled in the Foreman School District through the school choice program. Horatio opposed the request for annexation, citing potential fiscal problems. The annexation request was unanimously denied.

Three schools went before the state board after being placed on the fiscal distress list. North Little Rock School District did not attempt to appeal the placement. Earle School District appealed the classification of fiscal distress. After a complex discussion, the State Board voted to deny the appeal and placed the district under fiscal distress. Pulaski County Special School District also filed a letter of appeal after being classified of fiscal distress.

On another topic, the OEP wishes all students and educators good luck as you have finished the annual testing cycle, you are working hard to finish the year on a high note, and you are getting ready to congratulate the high school graduates of 2011 across the state of Arkansas!

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