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On 'Taking' LRSD Students, 'New' Boards

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Public School Enrollment

   LRSD  PCSSD   NLRSD  Conway  Bryant Benton  LISA  eStem 

 2004

 24,424   17,961  9,110  8,442  6,598  4,254   163  0
 2005  25,095 (+671)  17,943 (-18)  9,368 (+258)  8,618 (+176)  6,851 (+253)  4,409 (+155)  299 (+136)  0
 2006  25,500 (+405)  17,756 (-187)  9,334 (-34)  8,774 (+156)  6,862 (+11)  4,591 (+182)  359 (+60)  0
 2007  25,738 (+238)  17,395 (-361)  8,974 (-360)  9,002 (+228)  7,163 (+301)  4,506 (-85)  411 (+52)  0
 2008  24,660 (-1,079)  17,410 (-15)  8,970 (-4)  9,144 (+142)  7,383 (+220)  4,527 (+21)  433 (+22)  755
 2009   24,380 (-280)  17,126 (-284)  9,119 (+149)  9,083 (-61)  7,669 (+286)  4,587 (+60)  465 (+32)  931 (+176)
 2010  24,226 (-154)  16,828 (-298)  8,862 (-257)  9,256 (+173)  7,949 (+280)  4,666 (+79)  476 (+11)  1,231 (+300)
 2011  24,049 (-177)  16,959 (+131)  8,545 (-317)  9,432 (+176)  8,291 (+342)  4,618 (-48)  599 (+123)  1,457 (+226)
 2012  23,594 (-455)  17,245 (+286)  8,610 (+65)  9,630 (+192)  8,620 (+329)  4,768 (+150)  792 (+193)  1,485 (+28)
 2013  23,676 (-82)  17,060 (-185)  8,553 (-57)  9,733 (+103)  8,862 (+242)  4,922 (+154)  799 (+7)  1,462 (-23)
 2014  23,363 (-313)  16,592 (-468)  8,576 (+22)  9,771 (+38)  9,017 (+155)  5,000 (+78)  797 (-2)  1,462 (0)
 2015  23,164 (-199)  16,562 (-30)  8,413 (-163)  9,734 (-37)  8,969 (-48)  5,045 (+45)  825 (+28)  1,462 (0)
 2016   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)
 13 Year Totals  -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


Assessment

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.

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.

New Board?

Those opposed to State intervention in LRSD and now aligned against the millage extension for new, refurbished facilities have lamented that the "new" board was not given a chance before it was dismissed. What they don't explain is that with seven elected zones and staggered terms, there was essentially a "new" board every year. Throw in five superintendents in eleven years (25 in 34), and there was constant "new" governance in the district.

Year  Super. Board
Zone 1
Board
Zone 2
Board
Zone 3
Board
Zone 4
Board
Zone 5
Board
Zone 6
Board
Zone 7

2004

Roy
Brooks
Katherine Mitchell *Robert Daugherty  Bryan
Day
Baker Kurrus Larry
Berkley
Tony
Rose
Sue Strickland
2005
Roy
Brooks
Katherine Mitchell Robert
Daugherty
Bryan
Day
Baker Kurrus Larry
Berkley
Tony
Rose
Sue Strickland
2006
Roy
Brooks
Katherine Mitchell Robert
Daugherty
*Melanie Fox  Baker Kurrus Larry
Berkley
*Charles Armstrong *Dianne
Curry 
2007 Roy
Brooks
Katherine Mitchell Robert
Daugherty
Melanie
Fox
Baker Kurrus Larry
Berkley
Charles Armstrong Dianne
Curry
2008
Linda
Watson
Katherine Mitchell Robert
Daugherty
Melanie
Fox
Baker Kurrus *Jody Carreiro Charles Armstrong Diane
Curry
2009
Linda
Watson
Katherine Mitchell Robert
Daugherty
Melanie
Fox
Baker Kurrus Jody
Carreiro
Charles Armstrong Dianne
Curry
2010
Linda Watson/
Morris Holmes
Katherine Mitchell Mike
Nellums
Melanie
Fox
*Greg Adams Jody
Carreiro
*Tommy
Branch, Jr.
Dianne
Curry
2011
Morris
Holmes
*Norma
Johnson

Mike
Nellums

Melanie
Fox
Greg
Adams
Jody
Carreiro
Tommy
Branch, Jr.
Dianne
Curry
2012
Morris Holmes/
Marvin
Burton
Norma
Johnson 
Mike
Nellums
*Leslie Fisken Greg
Adams
Jody
Carreiro
Tommy
Branch, Jr.
Dianne
Curry
2013
Dexter
Suggs
Norma
Johnson
*C.E.
McAdoo
Leslie
Fisken
Greg
Adams
Jody
Carreiro
*Tara
Shephard
Dianne
Curry
2014
Dexter
Suggs
*Joy
Springer 
C.E.
McAdoo 
Leslie
Fisken
Greg
Adams
*Jim
Ross
Tara
Shephard
Dianne
Curry
2015 Baker
Kurrus
             
2016 Mike
Poore
             

 *New

Assessment

Of the seven superintendents in eleven years, six were not retained. Four, all African-American, were not retained by the local boards.

From 2004 to 2014, every year was a "new" board except 2009, 2007 and 2005. The most "new" members (3) were in 2006. There were at least two "new" members four times in eleven years, including the board that was dismissed.

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