Arkansas school board elections to address school safety, choice

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September 10, 2013

Arkansas

By Alex Schaffer

On September 17, six of the largest school districts in Arkansas will hold school board elections for a total of ten seats. The districts holding elections are Cabot Public School District, Conway Public Schools, Fort Smith Public Schools, Little Rock School District, Rogers School District and Springdale Public Schools. One seat is at stake in the Cabot, Conway and Rogers school districts, while two seats are at stake in Springdale and Fort Smith. Little Rock School District is holding an election for three seats on their Board of Education. With less than one week before election day, these school board candidates face a variety of challenges ranging from arming school district employees to school choice initiatives.

On August 1, Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued a legal opinion stating that school districts did not have the authority to arm and train their teachers and staff as security guards.[1] This non-binding opinion has led school districts around Arkansas to decide whether or not they would employ these tactics. Fort Smith and Little Rock have been issued permits to license, train and arm members of their staff. In the wake of these decisions, the Arkansas State Police has decided to put all pending non-traditional applications for these licenses on hold.[2] Fort Smith, Rogers, and Springdale have chosen to participate in Public School Choice Act 1227, which allows any student residing in Arkansas to attend schools within these districts if they so desire.[3][4][5]

Spotlight: Little Rock School District
Little Rock School District is the largest school district in the state of Arkansas. Little Rock School District also has a significant achievement gap between black and white students, with black students achieving approximately 38 percent lower scores in literacy and mathematics across all grade levels.[6] As a result, the district has set a goal of helping at least half of minority students to score at the proficient or advanced levels by 2015.[7] Little Rock School District also recently issued a new dress code policy that would require teachers to wear "foundational garments" (underwear) and to ensure that these garments are not visible. The dress code also prohibits employees from wearing spandex, cut-off jeans, and flip flops.[8] The dress code policy has come under fire from teachers union President Cathy Koehler, who worries that, ."..if an employee refuses to go home and change they can be considered insubordinate and risk losing their job based on an opinion."

Candidates

Cabot Public School District
Position 5
UncheckedBox.jpg Mark Raines





Little Rock School District
Zone 2
UncheckedBox.jpg Charlie C.E. McAdoo
UncheckedBox.jpg Kenneth A. Davis

Zone 4
UncheckedBox.jpg Greg Adams

Zone 6
UncheckedBox.jpg Tommy Branch Jr.
UncheckedBox.jpg Florene Armstrong
UncheckedBox.jpg Tara Shephard

Conway Public Schools
At-large Position 5
UncheckedBox.jpg Eleanore B. Damico
UncheckedBox.jpg Adam Lamey




Rogers School District
Zone 2
UncheckedBox.jpg Curtis Clements

Fort Smith Public Schools
At-large
UncheckedBox.jpg Dr. David Hunton
UncheckedBox.jpg Andrew Mackey

Zone II
UncheckedBox.jpg Susan McFerran


Springdale Public Schools
At-large
UncheckedBox.jpg Brian Moore
UncheckedBox.jpg Michelle McCaslin Cook

Zone 2
UncheckedBox.jpg Jeffrey Alan Williams

See also

References