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Three School Years of State Leadership of LRSD: Rising Equity, Declining Adequacy

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Updated: Friday, December 7, 2018

Free school system.

"Intelligence and virtue being the safeguards of liberty and the bulwark of a free and good government, the State shall ever maintain a general, suitable and efficient system of free public schools and shall adopt all suitable means to secure to the people the advantages and opportunities of education."

Arkansas Constitution, Article 14, Section 1

Supervision of schools.

"The supervision of public schools, and the execution of the laws regulating the same, shall be vested in and confided to, such officers as may be provided for by the General Assembly."

Arkansas Constitution, Article 14, Section 4

In 2006, after the Arkansas Supreme Court decision in Lake View School District No. 25 v. Huckabee in 2005, the Eighty-fifth General Assembly passed acts upon the recommendation of the House and Senate Interim Committees on Education resulting in a system of education that is "adequate and equitable."

On January 28, 2015, the State Board of Education exercised its Constitutional authority granted by the General Assembly and voted to take over the Little Rock School District and dismiss its local elected board. At the time, one school in Academic Distress (three-year average of less than 49.5% of students proficient) could trigger state takeover. Little Rock had six schools in Academic Distress, including three of its five high schools.

Three full school years later (three years and ten months total), how has the state performed in making the district "adequate and equitable?"

Equity

In the Saturday, September 23, 2017 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Rita Sklar of the Arkansas ACLU, repeated what has become a constant talking point of those opposed to both charter schools and the State's intervention in the Little Rock School District.

"Here in Little Rock, the process of re-segregating our classrooms has accelerated since the state takeover of the Little Rock School District in 2015, and new state-initiated and authorized charter schools are being created at a breakneck pace and with a fervor that is obscene."

And yet, no evidence is ever provided regarding the district's "re-segregation" since State control nor the charters' alleged role as accomplices. In fact, the district's decades-long, locally-controlled history of "re-segregation"- via gerrymandered, non-contiguous attendance zones, preferential magnet admissions, and bussing of Hispanic high school students - is conveniently ignored.

The reason no evidence is ever provided is because none exists. In fact, the truth is just the opposite of the status quo's re-segregation fabrication.

Here are demographic data for the district since the advent of the first charter school in 2004.

  • District enrollment has dropped 5,363 students (-12%) over the past 15 years
  • African-American enrollment has dropped 3,490 students (-21%) over the past 15 years (65% of total)
  • White enrollment has dropped 1,873 students (-31%) over the past 15 years (35% of total)
  • African-American and White enrollment has essentially declined 1 percentage point a year for the past fifteen years for an overall decline of 24%
  • Hispanic enrollment has grown 2,053 students (+167%) in the same period
  • As a percentage of enrollment, Hispanic enrollment has grown from 5% to 15% over the past 15 years
  • For the first time in fifteen years, Hispanic enrollment dropped (-71) between 2017-18 and 2018-19
  • African-American enrollment is at its lowest number (13,248) and percentage (61%) on modern record
  • White enrollment is at its highest number (4,095) in five years and highest percentage (19%) in six years
  • The gap between African-American and White students is lowest in number (9,153) on modern record and lowest percentage (76%/24%) in nine years
2 or More
Races
Asian Black Hispanic Native American/
Alaskan
Native Hawaiian/
Pacific Islander
White Total Total
Black/White
Enrollment
Black/White
Enrollment Gap
2004-05* NA 430 16,738 (69%) 1,226 (5%) 62 NA 5,968 (24%) 24,424 22,706 (93%) 10,770
(74%/26%)
2005-06 NA 399 17,173 (68%) 1,343 (5%) 69 NA 6,111 (24%) 25,095 23,284 (93%) 11,062
(74%/26%)
2006-07 NA 412 17,432 (68%) 1,553 (7%) 76 NA 6,027 (24%) 25,550 23,459 (92%) 11,405
(74%/26%)
2007-08 NA 436 17,715 (69%) 1,733 (7%) 81 NA 5,773 (22%) 25,738 23,488 (91%) 11,942
(75%/25%)
2008-09** NA 432 16,936 (69%) 1,865 (8%) 73 NA 5,354 (22%) 24,660 22,290 (90%) 11,582
(76%/24%)
2009-10 NA 450 16,574 (68%) 1,927 (8%) 76 NA 5,363 (22%) 24,380 21,937 (90%) 11,211
(76%/24%)
2010-11 126 509 16,245 (67%) 2,174 (9%) 83 2 5,087 (21%) 24,226 21,332 (88%) 11,158
(76%/24%)
2011-12 177 534 16,114 (67%) 2,322 (10%) 75 8 4,819 (20%) 24,049 20,933 (87%) 11,295
(77%/23%)
2012-13 199 523 15,708 (67%) 2,540 (11%) 69 6 4,549 (19%) 23,594 20,257 (86%) 11,159
(78%/22%)
2013-14 227 579 15,689 (66%) 2,728 (12%) 64 9 4,380 (19%) 23,676 20,069 (85%) 11,309
(78%/22%)
2014-15 271 557 15,371 (66%) 2,925 (13%) 65 10 4,164 (18%) 23,363 19,535 (84%) 11,207
(79%/21%)
2015-16*** 272 567 15,070 (65%) 3,124 (13%) 55 11 4,065 (18%) 23,164 19,135 (83%) 11,005
(79%/21%)
2016-17 285 563 14,603 (64%) 3,183 (14%) 57 14 4,054 (18%) 22,759 18,657 (82%) 10,549
(78.3%/21.7%)
2017-18 318 595 14,040 (63%) 3,350 (15%) 54 10 3,971 (18%) 22,338 18,011 (81%)

10,069
(78%/22%)

2018-19 241 (1%) 671 (3%) 13,248 (61%) 3,279 (15%) 53 (0%) 8 (0%) 4,095 (19%) 21,595 17,343 (80%) 9,153 (76%/24%)
TOTAL
LOSS/GAIN
+115 (+91%) +241 (+56%)
-3,490 (-21%)
+2,053 (+167%)
-9 (-15%)
12 (+600%) -1,873 (-31%)
-2,829 (-12%)
-5,363 (-24%)
-1,617 (-15%)
BEFORE STATE
CONTROL
LOSS/GAIN

+271 +127
(+30%)
-1,367
(-8%)
+1,699
(+139%)
+3
(+1%)
NA -1,804
(-30%)
-1,061
(-4%)
-3,171
(-14%)
+437
(+5%/-5%)
STATE CONTROL
LOSS/GAIN

+30 (+11%)
+114 (+20%)
-2,123 (-14%) +354 (+12%) -8 (-12%) -2 (-20%) -69 (-2%)
-1,768 (-8% -2,192 (-11%)
-2,054 (-18%)

* First Year of Charters
** First Year of African-American Majority Board
*** First Year of State Takeover

Meanwhile, at the charters and neighboring school district...

District/School 2 or More
Races
Asian Black Hispanic Native American/
Alaskan
Native Hawaiian/
Pacific Islander
White Total
LRSD 241 (1%)
671 (3%)
13,248 (61%)
3,279 (15%)
53 (0.2%)
8 (0%) 4,095
(19%)
21,595
PCSSD (South of River) 111 (3%) 178 (4%) 1,576 (38%) 520 (12%) 16 (0%) 1 (0%) 1,773 (42%) 4,175
All Little Rock
Charters*
229 (4%) 206 (3%) 3,389 (56%) 1,019 (17%) 15 (0%) 2 (0%) 1,457 (19%) 6,001
Covenant Keepers
0 0 32 (28%) 82 (72%) 0 0 0 114
eStem 160 (5%) 53 (2%) 1,783 (58%) 258 (8%) 7 (0%) 2 (0%) 1,129 (20%) 3,070
Exalt 7 (2%) 0 150 (30%) 242 (60%) 0 0 0 406
LISA Academy 45 (3%) 142 (10%) 587 (43%) 371 (27%) 6 (0%) 0 223 (16%) 1,374
Little Rock Prep 2 (0%) 0 319 (88%) 35 (10%) 0 0 5 (1%) 361
Premier 0 0 104 (90%) 5 (4%) 0 0 7 (6%) 116
Quest
7 (4%) 11 (7%) 50 (31%) 12 (7%) 2 (1%) 0 81 (50%) 163
ScholarMade
7 (2.5%) 0 253 (93%) 7 (2.5%) 0 0 5 (2%)   272
SIA Tech 1 (1%) 0 111 (89%) 7 (6%) 0 0 6 (5%) 125

 * Friendship Public Charter School will open in 2019 at 3615 West 25th Street.

Here are the facts:

  • Open-enrollment public charter school enrollment in Little Rock is 6,001
    • 3,389 (56%) African-American
    • 1,134 (19%) White - Same percentage as the Little Rock School District
  • African-Americans choose Little Rock charter schools at a rate three times that of Whites
  • There are over twice as many African-Americans in Little Rock charters schools than there are in Little Rock PCSSD schools (1,576)

Though dramatic improvement has occurred during the State's watch, true equity will not come to the Little Rock School District until:

  • Central's sprawling, preferentially gerrymandered, non-contiguous attendance zone is abolished
  • Attendance zones only applied to neighborhood elementary schools
  • All middle and high school attendance zones replaced with feeder schools (e.g. Fulbright, Roberts, Terry feeding Pinnacle View Middle School)
  • Students no longer bussed, Balkanized based solely on culture
  • Preferential and audition-based magnet, academy admissions for intra-district schools of choice replaced by open-enrollment, blind lotteries
  • Schools are opened, closed, reconstituted based solely on current, projected demand

It's now solely up to the State to correct what decades of local control created and perpetuated.

 

Adequacy

Adequacy (i.e. academic performance, growth) is a different story.

In the school year following the State's intervention in Little Rock, the State changed its summative assessment from PARCC to ACT Aspire (Grades 3-10) and ACT (Grade 11). Three years later, we now have two years of growth, performance data.

ACT Aspire (Grades 3 - 10) - Rounded Percentage of Students Meeting/Exceeding Readiness
* Original Six Academic Distress Schools (Three-year Average of Less than 49.5% of Students Proficient)
Bold indicates decline in all subjects in one year or over two


2015-16 2016-17 1-Year Growth  2017-18  1-Year Growth 2-Year Growth 
State Math  43%  47%  +4  47%  0  +4
State English  68%  70%  +2  70%  0  +2
State Reading  39%  41%  +2  41%  0  +2
State Science  38%  40%  +2  40%  0  +2
LRSD Math  33%  37%  +4  36%  -1  +3
LRSD English  57%  59%  +2  59%  0  +2
LRSD Reading  30%  32%  +2  32%  0  +2
LRSD Science  23%  29%  +6  29%  0  +6
Bale Math  28%  23%  -5  27%  +4  -1
Bale English  45%  41%  -4  47%  +6  +2
Bale Reading  15%  12%  -3  16%  +3  +1
Bale Science  19%  10%  -5  16%  +5  +1
Bale Cumulative
     -17    +19  +2
*Baseline Math  32%  40%  +8  25%  -15  -7
*Baseline English  41%  50%  +9  44%  -6  +3
*Baseline Reading  15%  16%  +1  12%  -4  -3
*Baseline Science  14%  19%  +3  13%  -5  -2
*Baseline Cumulative      +21    -30  -9
Booker Math  39%  43%  +4  43%  0  +4
Booker English  63%  62%  -1  62%  0  -1
Booker Reading  28%  25%  -3  30%  +6  +3
Booker Science  25%  30%  +2  32%  +1  +4
Booker Cumulative      +2    +7  +9
Brady Math  20%  27%  +6  29%  +2  +9
Brady English  54%  51%  -3  59%  +8  +5
Brady Reading  12%  18%  +6  21%  +3  +9
Brady Science  10%  16%  +4  19%  +2  +6
Brady Cumulative      +13    +16  +29
Carver Math  46%  50%  +4  55%  +5  +8
Carver English  58%  65%  +7  74%  +9  +16
Carver Reading  31%  34%  +2  40%  +6  +9
Carver Science  34%  35%  +4  39%  +4  +8
Carver Cumulative      +17    +25  +41
Chicot Math  NA  29%  NA  27%  -2  NA
Chicot English  NA  46%  NA  46%  0  NA 
Chicot Reading  NA  18%  NA  18%  0  NA
Chicot Science  NA  16%  NA  13%  -3  NA
Chicot Cumulative  
 NA    -5  NA
Dodd Math  28%  36%  +8  33%  -3  +5
Dodd English  58%  55%  -3  55%  +1  -3
Dodd Reading  13%  20%  +7  22%  +3  +10
Dodd Science  20%  20%  0  22%  +1  +1
Dodd Cumulative      +12    +1  +13
Forest Park Math  87%  82%  -5  78%  -4  -9
Forest Park English  91%  92%  +1  92%  0  +2
Forest Park Reading  67%  68%  0  66%  -2  -1
Forest Park Science  72%  67%  -9  72%  +5  -4
Forest Park Cumulative      -3    0  -4
Fulbright Math  60%  51%  -9  51%  -1  -9
Fulbright English  71%  72%  +1  75%  +3  +5
Fulbright Reading  39%  40%  +1  47%  +6  +1
Fulbright Science  44%  39%  -5  41%  +1  +1
Fulbright Cumulative      -12    +10  +4
Gibbs Math  69%  65%  -4  61%  -4  -7
Gibbs English  85%  88%  +3  82%  -6  -3
Gibbs Reading
 49%  53%  +5  45%  -8  -4
Gibbs Science  45%  50%  +5  46%  -4  +1
Gibbs Cumulative
     +9    -23  -13
Jefferson Math  63%  72%  +9  80%  +8  +17
Jefferson English   83%  87%  +4  88%  0  +4
Jefferson Reading  45%  62%  +17  65%  +3  +20
Jefferson Science  52%  68%  +16  67%  -1  +15
Jefferson Cumulative      +46    +10  +57
King Math  38%  39%  0  31%  -8  -8
King English  53%  53%  0  53%  +1  0
King Reading  23%  24%  +1  24%  0  +1
King Science  18%  22%  +3  20%  -1  +2
King Cumulative
     +4    -9  -3
Mabelvale Math  26%  34%  +8  29%  -5  +3
Mabelvale English  50%  53%  +3  49%  -4  -1
Mabelvale Reading  13%  19%  +6  18%  -2  +4
Mabelvale Science  13%  18%  +5  14%  -4  +1
Mabelvale Cumulative      +22    -15  +7
McDermott Math  34%  42%  +8  28%  -13  -5
McDermott English  64%  62%  -3  55%  -7  -10
McDermott Reading  25%  23%  -2  22%  -1  -3
McDermott Science  21%  20%  -1  23%  +2  +2
McDermott Cumulative      +2    -19  -16
Meadowcliff Math  27%  32%  +6  29%  -3  +3
Meadowcliff English  52%  47%  -5  50%  +3  -2
Meadowcliff Reading  12%  17%  +5  24%  +7  +12
Meadowcliff Science  19%  16%  -3  21%  +5  -2
Meadowcliff Cumulative      +3    +12  +17
Otter Creek Math  39%  43%  +4  38%  -5  -1
Otter Creek English  61%  65%  +4  59%  -6  -1
Otter Creek Reading  29%  27%  -2  26%  -1  -2
Otter Creek Science  26%  28%  +2  24%  -4  -2
Otter Creek Cumulative      +8    -15  -8
Pulaski Heights Math  53%  66%  +14  57%  -9  +4
Pulaski Heights English  72%  78%  +5  75%  -3  +2
Pulaski Heights Reading  50%  52%  +2  54%  +2  +3
Pulaski Heights Science  50%  57%  +7  54%  -2  +4
Pulaski Heights Cumulative      +28    -13  +14
Roberts Math  80%  83%  +3  82%  0  +2
Roberts English  86%  90%  +4  89%  -1  +3
Roberts Reading  68%  69%  +1  68%  0  0
Roberts Science  73%  70%  -3  67%  -4  -6
Roberts Cumulative      -5    -5  -1
Rockefeller Math  25%  31%  +5  32%  +1  +7
Rockefeller English  49%  53%  +3  66%  +13  +16
Rockefeller Reading  19%  21%  +3  22%  +1  +4
Rockefeller Science  21%  22%  +1  22%  0  +2
Rockefeller Cumulative      +12    +16  +28
Romine Math  31%  27%  -5  21%  -5  -10
Romine English  48%  45%  -3  43%  -1  -5
Romine Reading  15%  16%  0  15%  0  0
Romine Science  13%  20%  +7  12%  -8  -1
Romine Cumulative      -1    -15  -16
Stephens Math  34%  28%  -7  23%  -5  -12
Stephens English  54%  49%  -6  45%  -4  -9
Stephens Reading  15%  18%  +3  13%  -5  -2
Stephens Science  12%  16%  +3  10%  -6  -3
Stephens Cumulative
     -7    -19  -25
Terry Math  59%  56%  -3  44%  -12  -15
Terry English  72%  69%  -3  62%  -7  -10
Terry Reading  40%  34%  -7  40%  +6  0
Terry Science  33%  32%  -1  31%  0  -1
Terry Cumulative
     -14    -13  -27
Wakefield Math  24%  42%  +18  39%  -3  +15
Wakefield English  54%  51%  -3  47%  -5  -8
Wakefield Reading  16%  19%  +3  20%  +2  +4
Wakefield Science  12%  19%  +6  18%  0  +6
Wakefield Cumulative      +24    -6  +17
Washington Math  23%  30%  +7  18%  -12  -5
Washington English  37%  44%  +7  46%  +1  +9
Washington Reading  15%  15%  -1  10%  -4  -5
Washington Science  14%  15%  +1  10%  -5  -3
Washington Cumulative      +14    -20  -5
Watson Math  18%  21%  -3  19%  -2  +1
Watson English  32%  43%  +11  38%  -5  +6
Watson Reading  9%  14%  +6  16%  +1  +7
Watson Science  6%  12%  +6  11%  -1  +5
Watson Cumulative      +20    -7  +19
Western Hills Math  29%  40%  +11  35%  -5  +6
Western Hills English  63%  64%  +1  57%  -6  -5
Western Hills Reading  25%  21%  -4  26%  +5  +1
Western Hills Science  25%  21%  -4  26%  +6  +2
Western Hills Cumulative      +4    0  +4
Williams Math  68%  71%  +3  71%  1  +3
Williams English  84%  79%  -6  83%  +5  -1
Williams Reading  52%  56%  +4  55%  -1  +3
Williams Science  54%  57%  +3  54%  -3  0
Williams Cumulative      +4    +2  +5

           
Forest Heights STEM (K-8) Math  64%  69%  +6  65%  -5  +1
Forest Heights STEM (K-8) English  88%  87%  -1  89%  -2  +1
Forest Heights STEM (K-8) Reading  57%  58%  +1  59%  +1  +2
Forest Heights STEM (K-8) Science   59%  62%  +3  59  -3  0
Forest Heights STEM (K-8) Cumulative      +9    -5  +5
             
*Cloverdale Math  16%  17%  +1  11%  -5  -4
*Cloverdale English  41%  45%  +3  42%  -2  +1
*Cloverdale Reading  13%  18%  +6  17%  -1  -5
*Cloverdale Science  11%  16%  +5  13%  -2  +2
*Cloverdale Cumulative
     +15    -11  +4
Dunbar Math  23%  34%  +11  24%  -10  +1
Dunbar English  55%  61%  +7  54%  -7  0
Dunbar Reading  29%  32%  +3  23%  -8  -6
Dunbar Science  20%  26%  +6  19%  -7  -1
Dunbar Cumulative
     +27    -32  -6
*Henderson Math  18%  18%  0  17%  -1  -1
*Henderson English  46%  53%  +7  51%  -2  +5
*Henderson Reading   22%  23%  +1  19%  -4  -3
*Henderson Science  13%  15%  +2  12%  -3  -1
*Henderson Cumulative      +10    -10  0
Mabelvale Math  20%  29%  +9  24%  -5  +4
Mabelvale English  54%  51%  -3  53%  +2  -2
Mabelvale Reading  20%  22%  +2  23%  +1  +3
Mabelvale Science  14%  14%  0  15%  +2  +1
Mabelvale Cumulative      +8    -1  +6
Mann Math  38%  44%  +6  44%  0  +6
Mann English  71%  70%  -1  72%  +3  +1
Mann Reading  40%  40%  0  38%  -1  -1
Mann Science  34%  40%  +6  34%  -7  0
Mann Cumulative      +11    -5  +6
Pinnacle View Math  NA  64%  NA  56%  -8  NA
Pinnacle View English  NA  85%  NA  79%  -5  NA
Pinnacle View Reading  NA  54%  NA  54%  0  NA
Pinnacle View Science  NA  57%  NA  56%  -1  NA
Pinnacle View Cumulative
     NA    -14  NA
Pulaski Heights Math  49%  49%  0  50%  +1  +1
Pulaski Heights English  75%  71%  -4  74%  +3  -1
Pulaski Heights Reading  45%  45%  +1  48%  +2  +3
Pulaski Heights Science  46%  42%  -4  42%  0  -4
Pulaski Heights Cumulative      -7    +6  -1

           
Central Math  32%  33%  +1  37%  +4  +5
Central English  60%  64%  +4  58%  -5  -2
Central Reading  43%  43%  +1  39%  -4  -3
Central Science  32%  37%  +5  37%  -1  +5
Central Cumulative      +11    -6  +4
*Fair Math  5%  5%  +1  5%  0  +1
*Fair English  30%  29%  -1  25%  -4  -5
*Fair Reading  13%  14%  +1  9%  -5  -4
*Fair Science  4%  5%  +1  4%  -1  0
*Fair Cumulative
     +2    -10  -7
*Hall Math  2%  4%  +2  4%  0  +2
*Hall English  19%  21%  +2  18%  -2  0
*Hall Reading  8%  11%  +3  10%  -1  +2
*Hall Science  2%  4%  +2  4%  +1  +2
*Hall Cumulative
     +9    -3  +6
*McClellan Math  4%  6%  +2  7%  0  +2
*McClellan English  26%  22%  -4  27%  +5  +1
*McClellan Reading  10%  14%  +4  12%  -2  +2
*McClellan Science  4%  8%  +4  8%  0  +4
*McClellan Cumulative      +6    +3  +9
Parkview Math  22%  29%  +7  27%  -2  +5
Parkview English  57%  62%  +5  56%  -6  -1
Parkview Reading  33%   45%  +13  32%  -13  -1
Parkview Science  27%  29%  +2  26%  -3  -1
Parkview Cumulative
     +27    -23  +3

 

On ACT Aspire, in 152 (38 schools, 4 subjects each) opportunities for one-year growth in 2016-17:

  • 103 Improved
  • 43 Declined
  • 6 Stayed Same
  • Bale and Terry Declined in All Subjects
  • Greatest one-year growth was Jefferson: +46
  • Greatest one-year decline was Bale: -17

On ACT Aspire, in 160 opportunities for one-year growth in 2017-18:

  • 48 Improved
  • 93 Declined
  • 19 Stayed Same
  • Baseline, Gibbs, Mabelvale Elem., Otter Creek, Stephens, Cloverdale, Dunbar, Henderson, Parkview Declined in All Subjects
  • Chicot, Roberts, Romine, Pinnacle View, Fair Declined or Stayed Same in All Subjects
  • Greatest one-year growth was Carver: +25
  • Greatest one-year decline was Dunbar: -32

On ACT Aspire, in 152 opportunities  for two-year growth in 2017-18:

  • 81 Improved
  • 62 Declined
  • 9 Stayed Same
  • Otter Creek and Stephens Declined in All Subjects
  • Romine and Terry Declined or Stayed Same in All Subjects
  • Greatest two-year growth was Jefferson: +57
  • Greatest two-year decline was Terry: -27
    NOTE: Principal Sandra Register left Terry for Jefferson

Leadership Ranking (ACT Aspire 1-Year Growth/Decline)

  • 12 Improved; 2 Stayed Same; 27 Declined
  • Carver (Principal Clifton Woodley): +25
  • Bale (Principal Roxie Browning): +19
  • Brady (Principal Tyrone Harris): +16
  • Rockefeller (Principal Shoutell Richardson): +16
  • Meadowcliff (Principal Cynthia Collins): +12
  • Fulbright (Principal Sherkeyer Jackson): +10
  • Jefferson (Principal Sandra Register): +10
  • Booker (Principal Cheryl Carson): +7
  • Pulaski Heights Middle (Principal Daryl Powell): +6
  • McClellan (Principal Patricia A. Ellis Brunston): +3
  • Williams (Principal Connie Green): +2
  • Dodd (Principal Melinda Modica): +1
  • Forest Park (Principal Theresa Courtney-Ketcher): 0
  • Western Hills (Principal Teresa Richardson): 0
  • Mabelvale Elementary (Principal Darian L. Smith): -1
  • Mabelvale Middle (Principal Rhonda Hall): -1
  • Chicot (Principal E. Yvonne Jones): -3
  • Hall (Principal Mark Roberts): -3
  • Forest Heights STEM (Principal Amy Cooper): -5
  • Mann (Principal Keith McGee): -5
  • Roberts (Steven Helmick): -5
  • Central (Principal Nancy Rousseau): -6
  • Wakefield (Principal Les Taylor): -6
  • Watson (Principal ?): -7
  • King (Principal Karen Carter): -9
  • Fair (Principal Michael Anthony): -10
  • Henderson (Principal Replaced): -10
  • Cloverdale (Principal Wanda Ruffins): -11
  • Pulaski Heights Elementary (Principal Anna Lloyd): -13
  • Terry (Principal Stephanie Franklin): -13
  • *Pinnacle View (Principal Jay Pickering): -14
  • Mabelvale Elementary (Principal Darian L. Smith): -15
  • Otter Creek (Principal Wendy Minor): -15
  • Romine (Principal Suzanne Ray Proctor): -15
  • McDermott (Principal Pam Dial): -19
  • Stephens (Principal Phillip Carlock): -19
  • Washington (Principal Katherine Snyder): -20
  • Gibbs (Principal Tina Greenwood): -23
  • Parkview (Principal Randy Rutherford): -23
  • Baseline (Principal Replaced): -30
  • Dunbar (Principal Eunice Thrasher): -32

* Grew from 6th Grade to 6th and 7th Grades

Leadership Ranking (ACT Aspire 2-Year Growth/Decline)

  • 23 Improved; 1 Stayed Same; 14 Declined
  • Jefferson (Principal Sandra Register): +57
  • Carver (Principal Clifton Woodley): +41
  • Brady (Principal Tyrone Harris): +29
  • Rockefeller (Principal Shoutell Richardson): +28
  • Watson (Principal ?): +19
  • Meadowcliff (Principal Cynthia Collins): +17
  • Wakefield (Principal Les Taylor): +17
  • Pulaski Heights Elementary (Principal Anna Lloyd): +14
  • Dodd (Principal Melinda Modica): +13
  • Booker (Principal Cheryl Carson): +9
  • McClellan (Principal Patricia A. Ellis Brunston): +9
  • Mabelvale Elementary (Principal Darian L. Smith): +7
  • Hall (Principal Mark Roberts): +6
  • Mabelvale Middle (Principal Rhonda Hall): +6
  • Mann (Principal Keith McGee): +6
  • Forest Heights STEM (Principal Amy Cooper): +5
  • Williams (Principal Connie Green): +5
  • Central (Principal Nancy Rousseau): +4
  • Cloverdale (Principal Wanda Ruffins): +4
  • Fulbright (Principal Sherkeyer Jackson): +4
  • Western Hills (Principal Teresa Richardson): +4
  • Parkview (Principal Randy Rutherford): +3
  • Bale (Principal Roxie Browning): +2
  • Henderson (Principal Replaced): 0
  • Pulaski Heights Middle (Principal Daryl Powell): -1
  • Roberts (Steven Helmick): -1
  • King (Principal Karen Carter): -3
  • Forest Park (Principal Theresa Courtney-Ketcher): -4
  • Washington (Principal Katherine Snyder): -5
  • Dunbar (Principal Eunice Thrasher): -6
  • Fair (Principal Michael Anthony): -7
  • Otter Creek (Principal Wendy Minor): -8
  • Baseline (Principal Replaced): -9
  • Gibbs (Principal Tina Greenwood): -13
  • McDermott (Principal Pam Dial): -16
  • Romine (Principal Suzanne Ray Proctor): -16
  • Stephens (Principal Phillip Carlock): -25
  • Terry (Principal Stephanie Franklin): -27

* Grew from 6th Grade to 6th and 7th Grades

  • 10 Elementary and 2 Secondary Schools Cumulatively Declined Over Both One Year and Two:
    • Baseline (Principal Replaced)
    • Dunbar (Principal Eunice Thrasher)
    • Fair (Principal Michael Anthony)
    • Gibbs (Principal Tina Greenwood)
    • King (Principal Karen Carter)
    • McDermott (Principal Pam Dial)
    • Otter Creek (Principal Wendy Minor)
    • Roberts (Principal Seven Helmick)
    • Romine (Principal Suzanne Ray Proctor)
    • Stephens (Principal Phillip Carlock)
    • Terry (Principal Stephanie Franklin)
    • Washington (Principal Katherine Snyder)
  • 10 Elementary and 1 Secondary Schools Cumulatively Improved Over Both One Year and Two:
    • Bale (Principal Roxie Browning)
    • Booker (Principal Cheryl Carson)
    • Brady (Principal Tyrone Harris)
    • Carver (Principal Clifton Woodley)
    • Dodd (Principal Melinda Modica)
    • Fulbright (Principal Sherkeyer Jackson)
    • Jefferson (Principal Sandra Register)
    • McClellan (Principal Patricia A. Ellis Brunston)
    • Meadowcliff (Principal Cynthia Collins)
    • Rockefeller (Principal Shoutell Richardson)
    • Williams (Principal Connie Green)

ACT (Grade 11) - Percentage of Students Meeting/Exceeding Readiness


2015-16  2016-17  1-Year Growth  2017-18  1-Year Growth  2-Year Growth 
State Math  24%  24%  0  24%  0  0
State English  49%  49%  0  48%  -1  -1
State Reading  31%  30%  -1  30%  0  -1
State Science  24%  21%  -3  22%  -1  -2
State All Four Subjects  14%  14%  0  14%  0  0
LRSD Math  20%  20%  0  19%  -1  -1
LRSD English  41%  39%  -2  40%  +1  -1
LRSD Reading  29%  26%  -3  27%  +1  -2
LRSD Science  21%  18%  -3  19%  +1  -2
LRSD All Four Subjects  14%  13%  -1  14%  +1  0
Central Math  32%  37%  +5  33%  -4  +1
Central English  53%  56%  +3  54%  -2  +1
Central Reading  40%  43%  +3  30%  -13  -10
Central Science  31%  33%  +2  33%  0  +2
Central All Four Subjects  22%  27%  +5  25%  -2  +3
Fair Math  2%  4%  +2  1%  -3  -1
Fair English  16%  15%  -1  16%  +1  0
Fair Reading  7%  7%  0  6%  -1  -1
Fair Science  3%  4%  +1  1%  -3  -2
Fair All Four Subjects  2%  1%  -1  0%  -1  -2
Hall Math  3%  2%  -1  4%  +2  -1
Hall English  17%  8%  -9  19%  +9  +2
Hall Reading   12%  3%  -9  9%  +6  -3
Hall Science  4%  1%  -3  3%  +2  -1
Hall All Four Subjects  2%  0  -2  2%  +2  0
McClellan Math  5%  6%  +1  3%  -3  -2
McClellan English  13%  15%  +2  11%  -4  -2
McClellan Reading  5%  3%  -2  4%  +1  -1
McClellan Science  2%  3%  +1  0%  -3  -2
McClellan All Four Subjects  1%  1%  0  0%  -1  -1
Parkview Math  23%  17%  -6  20%  +3  -3
Parkview English  61%  51%  -10  52%  +1  -9
Parkview Reading  41%  30%  -11  34%  +4  -7
Parkview Science  28%  16%  -12  20%  +4  -8
Parkview All Four Subjects  16%  9%  -7  13%  +4  -3

 

On ACT, in 25 (5 schools, 5 areas each) opportunities for one-year growth in 2016-17:

  • 10 Improved
  • 13 Declined
  • 2 Stayed Same
  • Hall and Parkview Declined in All Subjects
  • State and District Declined or Stayed Same in All Subjects
  • Greatest one-year growth was Central +18
  • Greatest one-year decline was Parkview -46

On ACT, in 25 opportunities for one-year growth in 2017-18:

  • 12 Improved
  • 12 Declined
  • 1 Stayed Same
  • 0 Declined in All Subjects
  • State and Central Declined or Stayed Same in All Subjects
  • Greatest one-year growth was Hall +21
  • Greatest one-year decline was Central -21

On ACT, in 25 opportunities  for two-year growth in 2017-18:

  • 5 Improved
  • 18 Declined
  • 2 Stayed Same
  • McClellan and Parkview Declined in All Subjects
  • State, District and Hall Declined or Stayed Same in All Subjects
  • While no high school had two-year growth, the least decline was a tie Central and Hall -3
  • Greatest two-year decline was Parkview -30

Leadership Ranking (ACT 1-Year Growth/Decline)

  • Hall (Principal Mark Roberts): +21
  • Parkview (Principal Randy Rutherford): +16
  • Fair (Principal Michael Anthony): -7
  • McClellan (Principal Patricia Ellis-Brunston): -8
  • Central (Principal Nancy Rousseau): -21

Leadership Ranking (ACT 2-Year Growth/Decline)

  • Hall (Principal Mark Roberts - Only Responsible for One Year): -3
  • Central (Principal Nancy Rousseau): -3
  • Fair (Principal Michael Anthony): -6
  • McClellan (Principal Patricia Ellis-Brunston): -10
  • Parkview (Principal Randy Rutherford - Only Responsible for One Year): -30

Conclusion

Undoubtedly, progress has been made in the Litte Rock School District - in equity, in budget, in infrastructure. However, the district was taken over because of Academic Distress, and its progress (or lack thereof) in academics is woefully inadequate. In fact, rather than improving even incrementally, it is declining in most areas. Immediate, transformational, student-focused actions must be taken to, at the very least, ensure the district consistently improves in all areas by all measures.

That begins and ends with leadership. A school board (or in this case, the Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner acting in place of the board) hires one person to run the district - the superintendent. In Little Rock, the current superintendent and his predecessors have inexplicably chosen to retain (and in one case promote) the two deputies who have long presided over the academic decline of the district.

By simply examining the one and two-year improvement/decline in each of the schools, it is readily evident which building-level leaders are getting the job done on behalf of students and which are not.

The Little Rock School District's challenges and opportunities are all about leadership - in the district, in the buildings, and in the classrooms. At all levels, any adults standing in the way of student success should gracefully step aside or be as swiftly removed as the previous board.

Disclaimer: Because data entered and calculated manually from Arkansas Department of Education, we welcome any correction(s).

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First Rule of Employment: Show Up

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Sunday, November 4, 2018
Updated: Sunday, November 4, 2018

The good news: Under the State's leadership, Little Rock School District employee absenteeism is at a five-year low.

The bad news: 52% of LRSD employees still missed ten or more days for Sick, Personal, Vacation, Leave Without Pay (LWOP), Other. Throw in Professional Development, (PD) and it’s 67%.

        Sick, Personal, Vacation, LWOP, Other Sick, Personal, Vacation, LWOP, Other 


Sick, Personal, Vacation, LWOP, Other  Sick, Personal, Vacation, LWOP, Other  AND PROF DEV AND PROF DEV
FY TOTAL EMPLOYEE COUNT TOTAL EMPLOYEES >=10 Excluding PD Percentage Emp >=10 TOTAL ABSENCE >=10 PERCENTAGE OF EMPLOYEES W/ABSENCES >=10
 2018  3,684  1,929  52%  2,462  67%
 2017  3,765  2,099  56%  2,522  67%
 2016  3,933  2,423  62%  2,768  70%
 2015  3,986  2,485  62%  2,766  69%
 2014  4,023  2,404  60%  2,650  66%
 5-YR AVG  19,391  11,340  58%  13,168  68%


Over two-thirds of the district's employees are away from their responsibilities - students - ten or more days a year. Even more egregiously, most are on contracts of ten months of less.

The first rule of any job is showing up. So when chronic teacher, staff absenteeism far outpaces that of students, learning cannot take place.

By the way, chronic absenteeism for students is - you guessed it - missing ten of more days in a year.

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Union Priorities: Self Interests of Adults Over Best Interests of Students

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Saturday, November 3, 2018
Updated: Thursday, November 8, 2018

Nearly five years ago, we posted this:

"Four months into his tenure as the 20th (non-interim) superintendent in 31 years of the Little Rock School District, Dr. Dexter Suggs received a vote of "No Confidence" from the Little Rock Education Association (LREA). The vote came during a stalemate in contract negotiations just months after the union had joined parent, citizen, business and civic leaders in supporting Dr. Suggs' selection by a 6 -1 board vote."

No Confidence? When Union Votes on Superintendent, Who Votes on Union

Dr. Suggs was the courageous leader who kicked John Walker out of schools and converted Forest Heights from a failed middle school to a desired 'A' K-8 STEM Academy with a wait list. He was credited by the previous Attorney General as the catalyst for the 2014 Desegregation Settlement Agreement, and he was run out of town by Little Rock's politically motivated status quo, which attempted to destroy his credibility by accusing him of plagiarism on his doctoral dissertation. Note to those purveyors of politics of personal destruction: After investigation by his alma mater, his doctorate was confirmed.

Then and now, when the union doesn't get its way, instead of reasonably negotiating/debating the issue(s), it attacks its opponent(s).

Perhaps the reason the union is so aggressively fighting Commissioner Key’s recommended waiver on "Teacher Fair Dismissal" for D and F schools is that it has never valued new teachers. If it did, there is no reasonable explanation as to why the richest school district in Arkansas history ranks 72nd in starting teacher salaries:

  • $34,865 - Little Rock School District
  • $35,775 - Arkansas Average
  • $34,574 - Central Arkansas Average
  • $47,016 - Arkansas's Highest - Springdale School District 
  • $30,500 - Arkansas's Lowest - Cutter-Morning Star

The union not only doesn't want new teachers in D and F schools, it doesn't want them in the district.

Wrap your head around that. Springdale - now the largest school district in Arkansas - starts its teachers $12,151 more per year than far richer Little Rock. LRSD is actually closer to the state's cellar dweller (+$4,275) than to its leader (-$12,151).

Annual dues for the Little Rock Education Association are $724, no matter the teacher's income. $192 of that is sent to the National Education Association (NEA), $360 is sent to the Arkansas Education Association, and only $172 stays local. Because Little Rock has, by far, the most union teachers of any district in the state, it is subsidizing the state's politically active association, which endorses candidates for federal and state office.

The union does not report its individual school membership. But, because it uses the district's payroll deduction system to collect most of its dues, that information is public. So, here are those percentages (excluding EFT, direct payment):

LRSD Elementary Schools Performance, Union Teachers
Schools Grades ESSA Score Number of Teachers Number of Union Teachers Percentage Union Avg Absences per Teacher Last Quarter (Sick, Personal)
Bale F 57.17 28 14 50%  0.90
Baseline D 59.61 36 5 14%  1.90
Booker C 65.36 37 19 51%  1.68
Brady D 61.34 30 17 57%  2.25
Carver C 70.04 34 18 53%  1.29
Chicot D 62.23 51 27 53%   1.66
Dodd D 64.57 25 16 64%  2.04
Forest  Heights K-5 78.04 21 14 67%  1.09 
Forest Park A 85.10 29 4 14%  2.07
Fulbright C 71.63 42 16 38%  1.49
Gibbs B 75.29 27 22 81%  1.81
Jefferson A 85.52 31 14 45%  1.31
King D 58.80 34 20 59%  3.25
Mabelvale D 58.60 33 21 64%  1.41
McDermott D 62.72 29 16 55%  2.48
Meadowcliff D 61.34 24 12 50%  1.48
Otter Creek C 65.51 29 14 48%  0.76
Pulaski Heights B 74.11 21 10 48%  0.21
Roberts A 87.61 60 11 18%  1.62
Rockefeller D 62.89 30 17 57%  2.04
Romine F 55.51 28 11 39%  1.83
Stephens F 56.18 37 25 68%  1.73
Terry C 67.74 30 15 50%  1.97
Wakefield C 66.90 32 8 25%  2.09
Washington F 54.09 36 19 53%  2.65
Watson D 58.70 31 21 68%  1.51
Western Hills D 64.05 22 14 64%  3.47
Williams B 78.41 30 9 30%  1.36

 

LRSD Middle School Performance, Union Teachers
Schools Grade ESSA Score Number of Teachers Number of Union Teachers Percentage Union
Avg Absences per Teacher Last Quarter (Sick, Personal) 
Cloverdale F 52.96 53 37 70%  2.30
Dunbar D 58.35 52 27 52%  2.17
Forest Heights 6-8 A 78.04 37 18 49%  1.09
Henderson D 55.87 57 41 72%  2.63
Mabelvale D 58.94 50 34 68%  2.09
Mann C 68.30 63 47 75%  2.23
Pinnacle View B 74.32 69 30 43%  0.99
Pulaski Heights C 68.22 51 30 59%  2.57

 

LRSD High School Performance, Union Teachers
Schools Grade ESSA Score Number of Teachers Number of Union Teachers Percentage Union Avg Absences per Teacher Last Quarter (Sick, Personal) 
Fair F 47.27 68 40 59%  2.90
Central C 65.84 160 82 51%  1.61
Hall F 47.34 90 58 64%  3.08
McClellan   F 48.18 66 40 61%  2.06
Parkview C 65.90 87 35 40%  1.39


See the correlation?

The district has 1,800 teachers assigned to K-12 schools, with 948 (53%) paying their union dues via payroll deduction. Here are the district's grades and their respective (minimum) union percentages:

  • 4 A Schools (34% Union - 61 of 178)
  • 4 B Schools (48% Union - 71 of 147)
  • 10 C Schools (50% Union - 284 of 565)
  • 14 D Schools (57% Union - 288 of 504)
  • 8 F Schools (60% Union - 244 of 406)

Union blaming? Bashing? Try exposing. As long as the union chooses to protect members who have chronically failed students, it requires intervention, just as did the district in 2015.

Having long experienced the union's outsized influence in the district, it would have been our preference that the current administration do what the previous did when it intervened in the Pulaski County Special School District and decertify the union. Instead, Commissioner Key chose to defer to his appointed superintendents' choice of patience and collaboration.

Even now, he chooses to continue recognizing the union, while surgically applying a waiver of "Teacher Fair Dismissal" to only the worst performing schools in the district. His thanks? He and his leadership are repeatedly misrepresented and vilified by those whose standing rests solely in his hands.

Our experience is that the union, oblivious to its current reality, will overplay its hand and leave the Commissioner no choice. Until then and thereafter, may its members, non-union teachers, parents, students and the community find solidarity - not with the self interests of adults, but with the best interests of students.

The author and his wife are decades long members of three unions and keenly aware that if they do not do the jobs they are hired to do they will be immediately removed.

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Would You Choose These Schools for Your Students?

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Saturday, October 27, 2018
Updated: Saturday, November 3, 2018

Parents, citizens and teachers considering solidarity with the teachers' union in opposing waiver of "Teacher Fair Dismissal" for Little Rock School District D and F schools should ask themselves one question:

If you had a choice, would you send your child to these schools?

School Grade  2017-18 Score  2016-17 Score  Gain/Loss  State Rank (of 1,034 Arkansas public schools)  Minority Percentage 
 Fair High  F  47.27  52.04  -4.77  1,034th  95.98%
 Hall High  F  47.34  47.39  -0.05  1,033rd  94.56%
 McClellan High  F  48.18  48.85  -0.67  1,032nd  97.20%
 Cloverdale Middle  F  52.96  58.63  -5.67  1,022nd  97.54%
 Washington Elem.  F  54.09  61.90  -7.81  1,014th  97.70%
 Romine Elem.  F  55.51  60.06  -4.55  1,001st  96.41%
 Henderson Middle  D  55.87  58.71  -2.84  994th  93.64%
 Stephens Elem.  F  56.18  57.82  -1.64  989th  97.37%
 Bale Elem.  F  57.17  57.74  -0.57  972nd  92.97%
 Dunbar Middle  D  58.35  66.99  -8.64  956th  95.14%
 Mabelvale Elem.  D  58.6  62.24  -3.64  952nd  94.56%
 Watson Elem.  D  58.7  59.70  -1.00  951st  98.53%
 King Elem.  D  58.8  65.05  -6.25  950th  97.57%
 Mabelvale Middle  D  58.94  61.42  -2.48  946th  93.64%
 Baseline Elem.  D  59.61  63.35  -3.74  937th  93.02%
 Meadowcliff Elem.  D  61.34  62.22  -0.88  898th  95.30%
 Brady Elem.  D  61.34  62.57  -1.23  897th  94.05%
 Chicot Elem.  D  62.23  59.92  +2.31  883rd  96.32%
 McDermott Elem.  D  62.72  67.52  -4.80  868th   93.42%
 Rockefeller Elem.  D  62.89  65.82  -2.93  862nd  95.31%
 Western Hills Elem.  D  64.05  64.79  -0.74  821st  94.90%
 Dodd Elem.  D  64.57  65.37  -0.80  796th  96.00%


It's not just one year of aberrant scores. It’s continued decline of 21 of 22 schools. Of all D and F schools, only Chicot Elementary improved between 2016-17 and 2017-18.

Now look at each school's minority percentage. For over three decades under federal and local control, the most historically significant school district in America - one associated with equal educational opportunity for all - has systemically denied equitable educational opportunity for its most vulnerable students. Even worse, through gerrymandered attendance zones and preferential magnet admissions, it has Balkanized its students between two C high schools - Central and Parkview - and three F high schools - Fair, Hall and McClellan.

The State of Arkansas, which is constitutionally responsible for public education, seeks to finally prioritize the best interests of students over the self interests of adults. But to do that, it must have the flexibility to remove and replace ineffective staff, teachers, principals and central administrators.

For this community and school district to survive and thrive, solidarity must be with long denied students, not with the adults who failed them.

Epilogue

The teachers' union, its apologists, and lazy media are perpetuating the talking point lie:

"6 Academic Distress Schools at Takeover; 22 Today."

Here's the truth. The year of the State's intervention in the district (2015), there were:

  • 6 Academic Distress Schools (Three-year average of less than 49.5% students proficient)
  • 24 Priority or Focus Schools
    • 8 Priority (Lowest 5% Academic Performing Schools in Arkansas)
    • 16 Focus (Largest In-school Achievement Gaps in Arkansas)
  • 22 D (14) and F (8) Schools

All defined by different statutes.

School Grade Score (of 300) State Rank (of 1,052 Arkansas public schools) Academic Distress (3 Year Avg Proficient) Priority School (Year First Identified) Focus School (Year First Identified; Gap)
Bale Elem. X (2012; 35.84)
Baseline Elem. D 197 932nd (tie) X (46.21%) X (2012)
Booker Elem. D 190 970th (tie)
Central X (2012; 30.18)
Chicot Elem. D 188 974th (tie) X (2015; 35.70)
Cloverdale Middle F 157 1,046th (tie) X (41.36%) X (2012)
Dunbar Middle D 181 1,005th (tie) X (2012; 25.51)
Forest Heights Middle F 157 1,046th (tie)
Franklin Elem X (2012; 32.37)
Geyer Springs Elem. F 172 1,031st (tie) X (2012)
Henderson Middle F 158 1,044th (tie) X (46.04%) X (2012)
J.A. Fair High F 173 1,028th (tie) X (44.42%) X (2012)
King Elem. D 183 999th (tie) X (2012; 25.13)
Hall High F 173 1,025th (tie) X (39.26%) X (2012)
Mabelvale Middle F 178 1,012th (tie) X (2015)
Mann Middle D 197 932nd (tie)
McDermott Elem. D 197 932nd (tie)
McClellan High 210 834th (tie) X (43.70) X (2012)
Meadowcliff Elem. D 197 932nd (tie)
Pulaski Heights Elem. X (2015; 33.17)
Pulaski Heights Middle D 205 888th (tie) X (2012; 35.76)
Rockefeller Elem. D 186 986th (tie) X (2015; 36.53)
Romine Elem. F 177 1,014th (tie) X (2012; 37.88)
Stephens Elementary D 200 918th (tie) X (2012; 30.62)
Wakefield Elem. X (2012; 25.10)
Washington Elem. D 201 912th (tie) X (2012; 35.22)
Watson Elem. D 188 974th (tie) X (2015; 35.70)
Western Hills Elem. D 192 962nd (tie) X (2015; 32.63)
Wilson Elem. X (2015; 31.42)

 

2015 Accountability (29 of 42 Schools):

  • 3 of 5 High Schools D or F
  • 6 of 6 Middle Schools D or F
  • 13 of 30 Elementary Schools D or F
  • 8 Priority Schools (Lowest 5% in Arkansas)
  • 16 Focus Schools (Largest In-School Achievement Gaps in Arkansas)

2018 Accountability (22 of 40 Schools):

  • 3 of 5 High Schools D or F
  • 4 of 7 Middle/K-8 Schools D or F
  • 15 of 27 Elementary Schools D or F

The pace of the district's academic turnaround has been unacceptable, and the Commissioner's recommended waiver of "Teacher Fair Dismissal" for D and F schools is three years late. But in 2015, 69% of the district's schools were designated in some form of accountability, including 9 of 11 secondary schools. Today, it's 55% and 7 of 12 secondary schools - nowhere near acceptable, but better than 2015 by every measure.

And if were going straight apples to apples: 22 D or F schools in 2015; 22 D or F schools in 2018.

Sources:

http://www.officeforeducationpolicy.org/arkansas-schools-data-recognition-data-and-letter-grades

http://www.arkansased.gov/divisions/public-school-accountability/school-performance/archived-school-performance-information

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Best Interests of Students v. Self Interests of John Walker

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Monday night, at a public meeting at Pinnacle View Middle School (PVMS), two parents submitted an alternative plan to those proposed by the Little Rock School District for the empty 70,000 sf building on the PVMS campus. The parents' pragmatic approach suggested that the Little Rock School District utilize the building to expand campus capacity to accept rising sixth graders from the Pulaski County Special School District. In turn, the Pulaski County Special School District's Robinson campus would accept rising ninth graders from PVMS. The two campuses are just 3 miles apart on Highway 10.

 

Collaboration between traditional school districts south of the river. What a concept.

 

Tuesday morning, Cynthia Howell wrote about it in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

 

Tuesday afternoon, John Walker referenced it in a filing to U.S. District Judge D. Price Marshall, Jr. and mischaracterized the parent initiative by writing: "on information and belief, it appears that the PCSSD and LRSD are engagedIn discussion regarding obligations and possible repurposing the Robinson schools and the Pinnacle View school in the LRSD."

 

To our knowledge, they are not. But if they are, it's about time.

 

Little Rock, Central Arkansas and the entire State of Arkansas will not grow or thrive until the best interests of students are prioritized over the self interests of adults, in this case, John Walker's.

 

His latest, knee-jerk federal court filing embodies everything that's wrong with public education in the county. Unitary status for PCSSD cannot come soon enough.

 

The irony in all of this is that individual parents do not need to wait on John Walker, LRSD or PCSSD. If it has capacity, PVMS is already available to LRSD students via School Choice. And Robinson is available to LRSD students in the same way. Simply complete and submit the School Choice Application by May1st. http://www.arkansased.gov/public/userfiles/Public_School_Accountability/Equity_Assistance/School_Choice_Application_2015.pdf

 

The only issue is whether or not the adults in charge, who claim they want everyone in traditional public education, will buck the status quo politics and create the capacity to meet immediate overwhelming demand.

 

Over John Walker's and former LRSD board members' strenuous objections, parents made Pinnacle View Middle School happen. If there's a rematch, we're betting on the parents.

 

P.S. When the Intervenors' attorney can't even spell "Schoool" correctly, you know he's in a hurry.

 

Text of filing below. Actual filing attached.

 

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS 

WESTERN DIVISION 

 

LITTLE ROCK SCHOOL DISTRICT PLAINTIFF 

 

v. 4:82cv866DPM 


PULASKI COUNTY SPECIAL 

SCHOOOL (SIC) DISTRICT, ET AL. DEFENDANT 

 

MRS. LORENE JOSHUA, ET AL. INTERVENORS 

 

Intervenors' Motion to Defer Hearing on Facilities 

to a Date After November 1, 2018 

 

The Court has indicated that it will make further visits to PCSSD schools –College Station, Fuller, Harris and Sylvan Hills. Intervenors counsel suggest that the hearing set for Monday, September 24, 2018 be deferred and reset subsequent to the Court’s visits to said schools.

 

Further, on information and belief, it appears that the PCSSD and LRSD are engaged In discussion regarding obligations and possible repurposing the Robinson schools and the Pinnacle View school in the LRSD.

 

Joshua submits that judicial economy would be best served by rescheduling the hearing. 

 

Respectfully submitted, 

 

/s/ John W. Walker 

 John W. Walker

JOHN W. WALKER, P.A. 

1723 Broadway 

Little Rock, Arkansas 72206 

501-374-3758 

501-374-4187 (facsimile) 

Email: johnwalkeratty@aol.com 

 

Robert Pressman 

Austin Porter 

 

Certificate of Service

 

I do hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing Motion has been filed utilizing the CM/ECF system wherein a copy will be automatically served upon all counsel of record on this 18th day of September, 2017.

 

/s/ John W. Walker 

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Lafayette County School District’s Motion for Temporary Restraining Order, Preliminary Injunction is DENIED

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Wednesday, August 8, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, August 8, 2018

CASE NO. 4:92-CV-4040

 

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 

WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS 

TEXARKANA DIVISION

 

MARY TURNER, et al. PLAINTIFFS

 

V.

 

LAFAYETTE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT, et al. DEFENDANTS

 

ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION and 

ARKANSAS STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION INTERVENORS

 

ORDER 

Before the Court is Lafayette County School District’s (“LCSD”) Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction. (ECF No. 47). Plaintiffs have filed a response in support of the requested relief.1 (ECF No. 51). The Arkansas Department of Education and the Arkansas State Board of Education (the “ADE and SBE”) have filed a response in opposition. (ECF No. 57). LCSD has filed a reply. (ECF No. 60). On August 1, 2018, the Court held a hearing on the matter. The Court finds this matter ripe for consideration.

 

1 In their response, Plaintiffs state that they join LCSD in the instant motion, and also independently move for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction enjoining LCSD from participating in school choice. However, Plaintiffs have not briefed the issue and, therefore, the Court cannot consider Plaintiffs’ independent request for preliminary injunctive relief. See Local Rule 7.2(e) (providing that motions for preliminary injunctions shall not be considered unless accompanied by a separate brief). Accordingly, the Court will simply consider the instant motion to be a joint motion for injunctive relief.

 

I. BACKGROUND 

This lawsuit was filed in April 1992 by African American individuals who were employed by or were parents of students who attended the Lewisville School District No. 1. In March 1993, the Court dismissed the case with prejudice subject to the terms of a consent decree entered into by the parties (hereinafter the “Turner Decree”). (ECF Nos. 9 & 10). The Turner Decree provided that “[t]he district shall hereafter maintain a unitary, racially non-discriminatory school system 

 

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wherein all schools are effectively and equitably desegregated and integrated.” (ECF No. 9, ¶ 13; ECF No. 27-1, ¶ 13). The Turner Decree further stated that “[t]he Court shall have continuing jurisdiction of [the decree] in order to insure compliance with the spirit and terms of [the decree]. (ECF No. 9, ¶ 13; ECF No. 27-1, ¶ 13). 

On November 23, 2015, the Court ordered the substitution of LCSD for Lewisville School District No. 1 as a party to this matter because Lewisville School District No. 1 had been consolidated with the Stamps School District to form the Lafayette County School District. (ECF No. 26). The Court found that because Lewisville School District No. 1 had ceased to exist and had been succeeded by LCSD, the substitution of LCSD as a party to this matter was proper to facilitate the continuation of the case.

 

On May 28, 2018, LCSD filed a Motion for Declaratory Judgment, or Alternatively, for Clarification of Previous Orders, or Alternatively, for Modification of Previous Orders (hereinafter “Motion for Declaratory Judgment”). (ECF No. 27). In that motion, LCSD informed the Court that although it believes it is still subject to the Turner Decree—and therefore has a conflict with taking part in school choice—the ADE and SBE have ordered LCSD to participate in school choice for the 2018-19 school year pursuant to the Arkansas Public School Choice Act of 2015, as amended by Act 1066 of the Regular Session of 2017 (hereinafter the “2017 Act”).2 Accordingly, LCSD’s Motion for Declaratory Judgment seeks, by various alternative means, a finding that LCSD is prohibited from taking part in school choice and/or a declaration that portions of the 2017 Act are unconstitutional. (ECF No. 28).

 

2 The 2017 Act provides, in relevant part, that each Arkansas school district must participate in a school choice program wherein students may apply to attend a school in a nonresident district, subject to certain limitations. Ark. Code Ann. § 6-18-1903. School districts may apply for exemptions from participating in school choice by producing evidence that the district has a genuine conflict under a federal court’s active and enforceable desegregation order or plan that explicitly limits the transfer of students between school districts. Ark. Code Ann. § 6-18-1906(a). The ADE decides a school district’s application for an exemption from participating in school choice and the SBE hears appeals of the ADE’s decisions on the same. See id. 

 

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On May 23, 2018, the Court issued an order certifying LCSD’s constitutional challenge and sending notice to the Arkansas Attorney General of the same, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 5.1(b). (ECF No. 29). On June 21, 2018, the ADE and SBE filed a motion to intervene in this case for the limited purpose of opposing LCSD’s Motion for Declaratory Judgment. (ECF No. 37). On June 22, 2018, the Court held a status conference in which LCSD, Plaintiffs, and counsel from the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office participated. On July 2, 2018, the Court granted the Motion for Limited Intervention filed by the ADE and SBE, thereby allowing those parties to intervene for the limited purpose of opposing LCSD’s Motion for Declaratory Judgment. (ECF No. 44). On July 16, 2018, the ADE and SBE filed their response in opposition to LCSD’s Motion for Declaratory Judgment. (ECF No. 45).

 

On July 19, 2018, LCSD filed the instant motion. LCSD seeks preliminary injunctive relief “restraining the [ADE] and the [SBE] from enforcing the [SBE’s] March 26, 2018 order requiring LCSD to participate in the Arkansas Public School Choice Act of 2015, as amended by Act 1066 of 2017” or, alternatively, “that the Court enjoin LCSD from participating in school choice pursuant to the [SBE’s] Order.” (ECF No. 47, ¶ 1). LCSD requests that injunctive relief remain in effect until an evidentiary hearing may be held on the issue of whether LCSD’s desegregation obligations conflict with participation in school choice. LCSD also requests that if injunctive relief is granted, that the bond requirement be waived. On July 20, 2018, Plaintiffs filed a response in support of the motion. (ECF No. 51). On July 28, 2018, the ADE and SBE filed a response in opposition. (ECF No. 57).

 

II. LEGAL STANDARD 

Rule 65 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs preliminary injunctions and temporary restraining orders. “The primary function of a preliminary injunction is to preserve the status quo until, upon final hearing, a court may grant full, effective relief.” Ferry-Morse Seed 

 

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Co. v. Food Corn, Inc., 729 F.2d 589, 593 (8th Cir. 1984). It is well established that “a preliminary injunction is an extraordinary and drastic remedy, one that should not be granted unless the movant, by a clear showing, carries the burden of persuasion.” Mazurek v. Armstrong, 520 U.S. 968, 972 (1997) (emphasis in original). 

The determination of whether a preliminary injunction is warranted involves consideration of: “(1) the threat of irreparable harm to the movant; (2) the state of balance between this harm and the injury that granting the injunction will inflict on other parties . . . ; (3) the probability that [the] movant will succeed on the merits; and (4) the public interest.” Dataphase Sys., Inc. v. C L Sys., Inc., 640 F.2d 109, 114 (8th Cir. 1981). Although no single factor in itself is dispositive, the probability of success on the merits is the most significant. Barrett v. Claycomb, 705 F.3d 315, 320 (8th Cir. 2013). “The burden of proving that a preliminary injunction should be issued rests entirely with the movant.” Goff v. Harper, 60 F.3d 518, 520 (8th Cir. 1995).

 

III. DISCUSSION 

The Court will first address whether LCSD will be irreparably harmed absent an injunction, and then will turn to the other Dataphase factors, if necessary. 

Although the probability of success on the merits is the predominant Dataphase factor, the Eighth Circuit has “repeatedly emphasized the importance of a showing of irreparable harm.” Caballo Coal Co. v. Ind. Mich. Power Co., 305 F.3d 796, 800 (8th Cir. 2002). A party seeking injunctive relief must demonstrate that the injury is of such imminence that there is a clear and present need for equitable relief to prevent irreparable harm. Packard Elevator v. Interstate Commerce Comm’n, 782 F.2d 112, 115 (8th Cir. 1986). To carry its burden, a party must demonstrate that a cognizable danger of a future violation exists and is more than a mere possibility. See Rogers v. Scurr, 676 F.2d 1211, 1214 (8th Cir. 1982) (citing Connecticut v. Massachusetts, 282 U.S. 660, 674 (1931)). The failure to demonstrate irreparable harm is an 

 

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independently sufficient ground to deny injunctive relief. Watkins Inc. v. Lewis, 346 F.3d 841, 844 (8th Cir. 2003). 

LCSD argues that it will suffer irreparable harm if injunctive relief is denied. Specifically, LCSD argues that if students are allowed to transfer, it is unlikely those students will ever return to LCSD. LCSD claims that this will cause irreparable harm in that it will suffer a segregative impact as well as “the financial impact caused by the loss of 42 students.” (ECF No. 48, p. 7). At the preliminary injunction hearing, LCSD also argued that it could suffer irreparable harm by being required to participate in school choice until the Court rules on LCSD’s underlying Motion for Declaratory Judgment, thereby violating the Turner Decree during that period.

 

In response, the ADE and SBE argue that the harm LCSD cites is “certainly not irreparable.” (ECF No. 57, p. 22). The ADE and SBE assert that if LCSD were to ultimately prevail it is “entirely possible” that the Court would order that students that had transferred must return to LCSD and “order the restitution of the per-student funding that LCSD lost by virtue of the unconstitutional application of the school-choice law.” (ECF No. 57, p. 22). Furthermore, the ADE and SBE assert that the only harm that would result from a denial of preliminary injunctive relief would be the loss of forty-two students and that—if LCSD ultimately prevailed—future losses would be prevented through permanent injunctive relief. Finally, the ADE and SBE argue that the “difference a denial of injunctive relief [and, accordingly, the loss of forty-two students] would make is a less than 5% increase in the black percentage of its student body.” (ECF No. 57, p. 22). According to the ADE and SBE, his change would be de minimis and no student would notice such a change and no parent’s “perception of LCSD’s racial identity would be affected[.]” (ECF No. 57, p. 22).

 

Upon consideration, the Court finds that LCSD has failed to carry its burden of establishing that, absent preliminary injunctive relief, it will suffer irreparable harm. The Court is not 

 

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persuaded that LCSD will suffer imminent financial harm if the approved student transfers leave LCSD. Robert Edwards, superintendent of LCSD, testified at the August 1, 2018 hearing that LCSD’s funding for the 2018-19 school year is already in place and based on LCSD’s average daily membership three quarters ago. Likewise, Mr. Edwards testified that LCSD will receive those funds regardless of the loss of the transferring students. Taken together with the testimony offered by other superintendents in the other school desegregation cases before the Court, it becomes clear that the loss of students will not cause an imminent financial harm to the student’s former district so as to require preliminary injunctive relief. Although Mr. Edwards’ testimony suggests that LCSD might suffer financial harm in several years due to the reduction in students, this potential harm is too far removed from the present to support a finding of irreparable harm. See Rogers, 676 F.2d at 1214 (stating that a preliminary injunction “may not be used simply to eliminate a possibility of a remote future injury”).

 

Moreover, the Court is not convinced that the loss of certain students, in and of itself, constitutes irreparable harm to LCSD. LCSD cites no authority supporting this proposition, and the Court is unaware of any. Absent any such authority, the Court cannot find that LCSD will suffer irreparable harm solely from the loss of certain students.

 

The Court is also unpersuaded by LCSD’s argument that it will suffer irreparable harm by being required to participate in school choice until the Court rules on LCSD’s underlying Motion for Declaratory Judgment. At the preliminary injunction hearing, LCSD argued that if the Court were to eventually rule in LCSD’s favor on the Motion for Declaratory Judgment, LCSD will have violated the terms of the Turner Decree by participating in school choice in the meanwhile. To be fair, this could constitute harm in certain circumstances. However, this notion is predicated on the idea that the Court will eventually grant LCSD’s Motion for Declaratory Judgment. If, on the other hand, the Court denies the instant motion and eventually denies LCSD’s Motion for 

 

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Declaratory Judgment, LCSD will not have suffered any harm from participating in school choice, as the Court will have determined that LCSD may do so without violating the Turner Decree. It is well established that irreparable harm must be certain and cannot be speculative. See S.J.W. v. Lee’s Summit R-7 Sch. Dist., 696 F.3d 771, 779 (8th Cir. 2012) (“Speculative harm does not support a preliminary injunction.”). This argument, at this point, is too speculative, as the mere possibility of harm is inadequate to support a finding of irreparable harm.

 

In sum, the Court finds that LCSD has not satisfied its burden of making a clear showing that it would suffer irreparable harm absent injunctive relief. Mazurek, 520 U.S. at 972. Accordingly, the Court need not proceed to the remaining Dataphase factors, as failure to show irreparable harm is an independently sufficient ground to deny injunctive relief.3 Watkins, 346 F.3d at 844.

 

3 The Court also finds that LCSD has not satisfied its burden to obtain a temporary restraining order, as the Dataphase factors are also used to determine whether to issue a temporary restraining order. See Williams v. Silvey, No. 4:09-cv-211-FRB, 2009 WL 1920187, at *1 (E.D. Mo. July 1, 2009) (applying the Dataphase factors in denying a motion for a temporary restraining order). Thus, the Court’s analysis for whether to grant a request for a temporary restraining order is the same as for a preliminary injunction.

 

IV. CONCLUSION 

For the foregoing reasons, the Court finds that Lafayette County School District’s Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction (ECF No. 47) should be and hereby is DENIED.

 

IT IS SO ORDERED, this 8th day of August, 2018.

/s/ Susan O. Hickey 

Susan O. Hickey 

United States District Judge 

 

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Junction City’s Motion for Temporary Restraining Order, Preliminary Injunction DENIED

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Case No. 1:66-cv-1095

 

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS

EL DORADO DIVISION 

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

 

PLAINTIFF 

 

JUNCTION CITY SCHOOL 

DISTRICT NO. 75, et al.

 

v.

 

DEFENDANTS

 

ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION and 

ARKANSAS STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION INTERVENORS

 

ORDER

 

Before the Court is the Junction City School District’s (“Junction City”) Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction. (ECF No. 22). The Arkansas Department of Education and the Arkansas State Board of Education (the “ADE and SBE”) have filed a response in opposition. (ECF No. 32). Junction City has filed a reply. (ECF No. 34). On August 1, 2018, the Court held a hearing on the matter. The Court finds this matter ripe for consideration.

 

I. BACKGROUND

 

Before proceeding to the merits of the instant motion, the Court finds it necessary to provide a brief overview of this litigation. On February 7, 1966, Plaintiff United States of America (“United States”) filed this action against Junction City seeking to dismantle the district’s operation of a dual school system. (See ECF No. 20-1). On June 21, 1966, the United States filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction requesting that Junction City and other defendants be enjoined from continuing to assign students to particular schools because of their race; operating separate school buses for black and white students; segregating faculty and staff based on race; and maintaining 

 

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any distinctions in the operation and management of Junction City based on race or color. (See ECF No. 20-2, p. 5). On August 15, 1966, the Court granted the United States’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction and issued an order enjoining Junction City from “maintaining and operating racially segregated public schools” and directing Junction City to eliminate its dual school system “with all deliberate speed.” (ECF No. 20-3, p. 3). On September 8, 1966, Junction City responded by filing a “freedom-of-choice” desegregation plan to which the United States objected and proposed its own plan. (ECF No. 2-4). On November 29, 1966, the Court entered an order finding that neither proposed plan was acceptable and directing Defendants to “institute a good faith freedom of choice plan for desegregation of the 11th and 12th grades beginning in January 1967.” (ECF No. 1, p. 3). The Court further ordered Junction City and other defendants to submit a report to the Court regarding its implementation of the freedom-of-choice plan. On August 14, 1967, the Court issued a decree requiring Junction City to implement a freedom-of-choice plan and setting forth the procedural framework for implementing the plan. (See ECF No. 20-4).

 

On May 24, 1968, the United States moved the Court for an order requiring the consolidation of the Junction City schools. After a hearing on the motion, the Court cancelled its decree dated August 14, 1967, and ordered Junction City to “propose an alternate plan for the conversion of the school system to a unitary system in accordance with the decisions of the Supreme Court made May 27, 1968, for all students in attendance.” (ECF No. 2-1, p. 3). The Court allowed Junction City to begin operating schools in September 1968 under the freedom-of-choice plan until the district filed a consolidation plan in January 1969. (ECF No. 2-3). The Court then issued several orders directing Junction City to allow certain grades to attend school under the freedom-of-choice plan and further directing the district to consolidate all students in certain grades. (See id.; see also ECF No. 2-5 (assigning students grade 9-12 to Junction City High School 

 

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and permitting students from other grades to attend either Junction City Elementary or Rosenwald School)). 

On October 23, 1970, the United States moved for further relief against Junction City on the grounds that Junction City failed to remedy its within-school segregation and its segregated transportation system. (ECF No. 2-6). On November 20, 1970, the Court entered an Order enjoining Defendants from maintaining any homeroom, classroom, or other school-related activity on the basis of race, color or national origin. (See ECF No. 2-7). The Court’s Order further directed Defendants to redraw their bus routes and reassign students to the busses on a non-racial basis. Id.

 

On May 17, 1974, the Court entered an order dismissing a companion desegregation case brought by private plaintiffs against Junction City, Love v. Junction City Sch. Dist., No. ED-70-C-51. (ECF No. 2-8). The Court’s order further moved this action to its inactive docket. See id. In addition, the order provided that the Court retained jurisdiction over this action so that it could be “re-opened at any time by appropriate and meritorious petition.” Id.

 

On May 14, 2018, Junction City filed a Motion for Declaratory Judgment, or Alternatively, for Clarification of Previous Orders, or Alternatively, for Modification of Previous Orders (hereinafter “Motion for Declaratory Judgment”). (ECF No. 2). In that motion, Junction City states that it is still subject to its desegregation obligations imposed by the Court’s prior orders. Accordingly, Junction City asserts that it has a conflict with taking part in school choice pursuant to the Arkansas Public School Choice Act of 2015, as amended by Act 1066 of the Regular Session of 2017 (hereinafter the “2017 Act”).1 Junction City states further that the ADE and SBE have 

1 The 2017 Act provides, in relevant part, that each Arkansas school district must participate in a school choice program wherein students may apply to attend a school in a nonresident district, subject to certain limitations. Ark. Code Ann. § 6-18-1903. School districts may apply for exemptions from participating in school choice by producing evidence that the district has a genuine conflict under a federal court’s active and enforceable desegregation order or plan that explicitly limits the transfer of students between school districts. Ark. Code Ann. § 6-18-1906(a). The ADE 

 

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decides a school district’s application for an exemption from participating in school choice and the SBE hears appeals of the ADE’s decisions on the same. See id. ordered Junction City to participate in school choice for the 2018-19 school year. Junction City’s Motion for Declaratory Judgment seeks, by various alternative means, a finding that Junction City is prohibited from taking part in school choice and/or a declaration that portions of the 2017 Act are unconstitutional.

 

On June 15, 2018, the Court issued an order certifying Junction City’s constitutional challenge and sending notice to the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office of the same, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 5.1(b). (ECF No. 5). On June 21, 2018, the ADE and SBE filed a motion to intervene in this case for the limited purpose of opposing Junction City’s Motion for Declaratory Judgment. (ECF No. 13). On June 22, 2018, the Court held a status conference in which Junction City, the United States, and counsel from the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office participated. On July 3, 2018, the United States filed its response to Junction City’s Motion for Declaratory Judgment. (ECF No. 20). On July 9, 2018, the Court granted the ADE and SBE’s motion to intervene, thereby allowing those parties to intervene for the limited purpose of opposing Junction City’s Motion for Declaratory Judgment. (ECF No. 21). On July 20, 2018, the ADE and SBE filed their response in opposition to Junction City’s Motion for Declaratory Judgment. (ECF No. 26).

 

On July 19, 2018, Junction City filed the instant motion. Junction City seeks preliminary injunctive relief “restraining the [ADE] and the [SBE] from enforcing the [SBE’s] March 26, 2018 order . . . requiring [Junction City] to participate in the Arkansas Public School Choice Act of 2015, as amended by Act 1066 of 2017” or, alternatively, “that the Court enjoin [Junction City] from participating in school choice pursuant to the SBE’s Order.” (ECF No. 22, ¶ 1). Junction City requests that injunctive relief remain in effect until an evidentiary hearing may be held on the 

 

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issue of whether Junction City’s desegregation obligations conflict with participation in school choice. Junction City also requests that, if injunctive relief is granted, that the Court waive the bond requirement. The ADE and SBE oppose the motion.

 

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65 governs preliminary injunctions and temporary restraining orders. “The primary function of a preliminary injunction is to preserve the status quo until, upon final hearing, a court may grant full, effective relief.” Ferry-Morse Seed Co. v. Food Corn, Inc., 729 F.2d 589, 593 (8th Cir. 1984). It is well established that “a preliminary injunction is an extraordinary and drastic remedy, one that should not be granted unless the movant, by a clear showing, carries the burden of persuasion.” Mazurek v. Armstrong, 520 U.S. 968, 972 (1997) (emphasis in original).

 

The determination of whether a preliminary injunction is warranted involves consideration of: “(1) the threat of irreparable harm to the movant; (2) the state of balance between this harm and the injury that granting the injunction will inflict on other parties . . . ; (3) the probability that [the] movant will succeed on the merits; and (4) the public interest.” Dataphase Sys., Inc. v. C L Sys., Inc., 640 F.2d 109, 114 (8th Cir. 1981). Although no single factor in itself is dispositive, the probability of success on the merits is the most significant. Barrett v. Claycomb, 705 F.3d 315, 320 (8th Cir. 2013). “The burden of proving that a preliminary injunction should be issued rests entirely with the movant.” Goff v. Harper, 60 F.3d 518, 520 (8th Cir. 1995).

 

III. DISCUSSION 

The Court will first address whether Junction City has shown that it will be irreparably harmed absent an injunction, and then will turn to the other Dataphase factors, if necessary.

 

Although the probability of success on the merits is the predominant Dataphase factor, the Eighth Circuit has “repeatedly emphasized the importance of a showing of irreparable harm.” 

 

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Caballo Coal Co. v. Ind. Mich. Power Co., 305 F.3d 796, 800 (8th Cir. 2002). A party seeking injunctive relief must demonstrate that the injury is of such imminence that there is a clear and present need for equitable relief to prevent irreparable harm. Packard Elevator v. Interstate Commerce Comm’n, 782 F.2d 112, 115 (8th Cir. 1986). To carry its burden, a party must demonstrate that a cognizable danger of a future violation exists and is more than a mere possibility. See Rogers v. Scurr, 676 F.2d 1211, 1214 (8th Cir. 1982) (citing Connecticut v. Massachusetts, 282 U.S. 660, 674 (1931)). The failure to demonstrate irreparable harm is an independently sufficient ground to deny injunctive relief. Watkins Inc. v. Lewis, 346 F.3d 841, 844 (8th Cir. 2003).

 

Junction City argues that if students are allowed to transfer, it is unlikely those students will ever return to its district. Junction City claims that this will cause irreparable harm in that Junction City will suffer a segregative impact, as well as the financial impact caused by the loss of five students. At the preliminary injunction hearing, Junction City also argued that it could suffer irreparable harm by being required to participate in school choice until the Court rules on Junction City’s underlying Motion for Declaratory Judgment, thereby violating the Court’s previous orders during that period.

 

In response, the ADE and SBE argue that the harm Junction City cites is “certainly not irreparable.” (ECF No. 32, p. 19). The ADE and SBE assert that if Junction City ultimately prevails on its underlyingMotion for Declaratory Judgment, it is “entirely possible” that the Court would order that the students who transferred must return to Junction City and “order the restitution of the per-student funding that [Junction City] lost by virtue of the unconstitutional application of the school-choice law.” (ECF No. 32, p. 19). Furthermore, the ADE and SBE assert that the only harm that would result from a denial of preliminary injunctive relief would be the loss of five students and that—if Junction City ultimately prevailed—future losses would be prevented 

 

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through permanent injunctive relief. Finally, the ADE and SBE argue that “the five transfers at issue would change the ratio of black students by 0.4%.” (ECF No. 32, p. 19). According to the ADE and SBE, this change would be de minimis, no student would notice such a change, and no parent’s “perception of [Junction City’s] racial identity would be affected.” (ECF No. 32, p. 19).

 

Upon consideration, the Court finds that Junction City has failed to carry its burden of establishing that it will suffer irreparable harm absent preliminary injunctive relief. The Court is not persuaded that Junction City will suffer imminent financial harm if the approved student transfers leave the district. Robby Lowe, superintendent at Junction City, testified at the August 1, 2018, hearing that Junction City’s funding for the 2018-2019 school year is already in place. Likewise, Mr. Lowe testified that Junction City will not suffer any immediate financial harm as a result of the transfers. Taken together with the testimony offered by other superintendents in the other school desegregation cases before the Court, it becomes clear that Junction City will not suffer imminent financial harm from the loss of certain transferring students. In fact, Mr. Lowe testified that all of the students seeking transfers have not yet enrolled in Junction City. Although Mr. Lowe’s testimony suggests that Junction City might suffer financial harm in several years due to the reduction in students, this potential harm is too far removed from the present to support a finding of irreparable harm. See Rogers, 676 F.2d at 1214 (stating that a preliminary injunction “may not be used simply to eliminate a possibility of a remote future injury”).

 

Moreover, the Court is not convinced that the loss of certain students, in and of itself, constitutes irreparable harm to Junction City. As previously mentioned, none of the students seeking transfer have enrolled in Junction City. Moreover, Junction City cites no authority supporting this proposition, and the Court is unaware of any. Absent any such authority, the Court cannot find that Junction City will suffer irreparable harm solely from the loss of certain students. 

 

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The Court is also unpersuaded by Junction City’s argument that it will suffer irreparable harm by being required to participate in school choice until the Court rules on the district’s underlying Motion for Declaratory Judgment. At the preliminary injunction hearing, Junction City argued that if the Court were to eventually rule in Junction City’s favor on the underlying Motion for Declaratory Judgment, the district will have violated the terms of the Court’s orders by participating in school choice in the meanwhile. To be fair, this could constitute harm in certain circumstances. However, this notion is predicated on the idea that the Court will eventually grant Junction City’s Motion for Declaratory Judgment. If, on the other hand, the Court denies the instant motion and eventually denies Junction City’s Motion for Declaratory Judgment, Junction City will not have suffered any harm from participating in school choice, as the Court will have determined that the district may do so without violating the Court’s orders. It is well established that irreparable harm must be certain and cannot be speculative. See S.J.W. v. Lee’s Summit R-7 Sch. Dist., 696 F.3d 771, 779 (8th Cir. 2012) (“Speculative harm does not support a preliminary injunction.”). This argument, at this point, is too speculative, as the mere possibility of harm is inadequate to support a finding of irreparable harm.

 

In sum, the Court finds that Junction City has not satisfied its burden of making a clear showing that it would suffer irreparable harm absent preliminary injunctive relief. Mazurek, 520 U.S. at 972. Accordingly, the Court need not proceed to the remaining Dataphase factors, as failure to show irreparable harm is an independently sufficient ground to deny injunctive relief.2 Watkins, 346 F.3d at 844.

 

2 The Court also finds that Junction City has not satisfied its burden to obtain a temporary restraining order, as the Dataphase factors are also used to determine whether to issue a temporary restraining order. See Williams v. Silvey, No. 4:09-cv-211-FRB, 2009 WL 1920187, at *1 (E.D. Mo. July 1, 2009) (applying the Dataphase factors in denying a motion for a temporary restraining order). Thus, the Court’s analysis for whether to grant a request for a temporary restraining order is the same as for a preliminary injunction. 

 

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IV. CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, the Court finds that Junction City’s Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction (ECF No. 22) should be and hereby is DENIED.

 

IT IS SO ORDERED, this 8th day of August, 2018.

/s/ Susan O. Hickey 

Susan O. Hickey 

United States District Judge 

 

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Camden-Fairview’s Motion for Temporary Restraining Order, Preliminary Injunction DENIED​

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Wednesday, August 8, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Case No. 1:88-cv-1142

 

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 

WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS 

EL DORADO DIVISION

 

LARRY MILTON, et al. PLAINTIFFS

 

v

 

MIKE HUCKABEE, et al. DEFENDANTS 

 

ORDER

 

Before the Court is the Camden-Fairview School District’s (“Camden-Fairview”) Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction. (ECF No. 284). Plaintiffs have filed a response in support of the motion.1 (ECF No 287). A response in opposition to the motion has been filed by the Governor of the State of Arkansas, the Arkansas Department of Education (“ADE”), the Arkansas State Board of Education (“SBE”), and the Members of the Arkansas State Board of Education (collectively, “State Defendants”). (ECF No. 291). Camden-Fairview has filed a reply. (ECF No. 294). On August 1, 2018, the Court held a hearing on the matter. The Court finds this matter ripe for consideration.

 

1 In their response, Plaintiffs state that they join Camden-Fairview in the instant motion, but also independently move for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction enjoining Camden-Fairview from participating in school choice. However, Plaintiffs have not briefed the issue and, therefore, the Court cannot consider Plaintiffs’ independent request for injunctive relief. See Local Rule 7.2(e) (providing that motions for preliminary injunctions shall not be considered unless accompanied by a separate brief). Accordingly, the Court will simply consider the instant motion to be a joint motion for injunctive relief.

 

I. BACKGROUND

 

Before proceeding to the merits of the instant motion, the Court finds it necessary to provide a brief overview of this litigation. On December 16, 1988, Plaintiffs—a group of African-Americans residing in Ouachita County, Arkansas—filed this action on behalf of their school-aged 

 

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children against State Defendants; the Board of Directors of the Camden Arkansas Housing Authority; the City of Camden, Arkansas; the Board of Education of the Camden, Arkansas School District; the Camden, Arkansas Fairview School District; and the Board of Education of the Harmony Grove School District. Plaintiffs’ Complaint alleged that Defendants acted in concert to deny African-American children equal educational opportunities by establishing, maintaining and perpetuating racially discriminatory school systems. Among other forms of relief, Plaintiffs sought an order consolidating the three defendant school districts or an effective desegregation plan.

 

On October 16, 1990, the Camden School District and Fairview School District were consolidated. On November 27, 1990, the Court entered a consent order (hereinafter the “Milton Order”) which provided, in pertinent part, that:

 

Harmony Grove shall maintain an open admission policy in regard to non-resident black students. Harmony Grove shall not permit the transfer of white students from Fairview into the district without the written permission of Fairview. Acceptance of transfer students by Harmony Grove is subject to existing space and transfer limitations. Harmony Grove will also refrain from engaging in any other act or conduct tending directly or indirectly to have a segregative impact in the Fairview School District. Any student transferring to Harmony Grove in compliance with this order and other legal requirements will be immediately eligible for all school activities without any of the limitations imposed by A.C.A. § 6-18-206.

 

(ECF No. 262-1, p. 2). The Milton Order further states as follows:

 

The consolidated Camden-Fairview School District and the Harmony Grove School District . . . are desirous of avoiding further litigation and controversy. While both of these districts are separate and autonomous and intend to operate independently in exercising governmental authority, these two districts agree that further costly litigation can be avoided by inter-district agreements. These agreements include but are not limited to the following:

 

1. Both school districts shall refrain from adopting student assignment plans or programs that have an inter-district segregative effect on either district. 

 

Id. at 3. The Milton Order further states that this Court “will retain jurisdiction to supervise all

 

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aspects of this and subsequent orders of this Court until such time as this Court issues a declaration of unitary status.” Id. 

On May 8, 1991, the Court issued an order tentatively approving a settlement agreement between Plaintiffs, Camden-Fairview and Defendants. (ECF No. 220). The Court entered a consent order declaring Camden-Fairview unitary in status on February 1, 2002. (ECF No. 254). The consent order further provided that State Defendants, the City of Camden, the Housing Authority of Camden, Harmony Grove School District, and Camden-Fairview had complied with the obligations imposed by the 1991 settlement agreement and court orders and dismissed them from the suit with prejudice.

 

On December 14, 2009, an action was removed to this Court from the Circuit Court of Ouachita County, Arkansas, alleging that a student at Camden-Fairview was denied permission to transfer to Harmony Grove High School in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, the Arkansas Constitution and Arkansas common law. See Lancaster v. Guess, Case No. 1:09-cv-1056. The parties to the Lancaster action later entered into a settlement agreement and jointly moved to dismiss, which was granted by the Court on July 26, 2010 (hereinafter the “Lancaster Order”). (ECF No. 262-5). The Lancaster Order states that the Court retains jurisdiction of the case for the sole purpose of enforcing the parties’ settlement agreement; as well as for the purpose of enforcing its orders in the present action.

 

On May 4, 2018, Camden-Fairview filed a Motion for Declaratory Judgment, or Alternatively, for Clarification of Previous Orders, or Alternatively, for Modification of Previous Orders (hereinafter “Motion for Declaratory Judgment”). (ECF No. 262). In that motion, Camden-Fairview states that it is still subject to the obligations imposed by the Milton and Lancaster Orders. Accordingly, Camden-Fairview states that it has a conflict with taking part in 

 

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school choice pursuant to the Arkansas Public School Choice Act of 2015, as amended by Act 1066 of the Regular Session of 2017 (hereinafter the “2017 Act”).2 Camden-Fairview states further that the ADE and SBE have ordered Camden-Fairview to participate in school choice for the 2018-19 school year. Camden-Fairview’s Motion for Declaratory Judgment seeks, by various alternative means, a finding that Camden-Fairview is prohibited from taking part in school choice and/or a declaration that portions of the 2017 Act are unconstitutional. On May 17, 2018, Plaintiffs filed a response supporting Camden-Fairview’s Motion for Declaratory Relief. (ECF No. 264).

 

2 The 2017 Act provides, in relevant part, that each Arkansas school district must participate in a school choice program wherein students may apply to attend a school in a nonresident district, subject to certain limitations. Ark. Code Ann. § 6-18-1903. School districts may apply for exemptions from participating in school choice by producing evidence that the district has a genuine conflict under a federal court’s active and enforceable desegregation order or plan that explicitly limits the transfer of students between school districts. Ark. Code Ann. § 6-18-1906(a). The ADE decides a school district’s application for an exemption from participating in school choice and the SBE hears appeals of the ADE’s decisions on the same. See id.

 

On May 23, 2018, the Court issued an order certifying Camden-Fairview’s constitutional challenge and sending notice to the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 5.1(b). (ECF No. 269). On June 15, 2018, the ADE and SBE filed their response in opposition to Camden-Fairview’s Motion for Declaratory Relief. (ECF No. 276). On June 22, 2018, the Court held a status conference in which Camden-Fairview, Plaintiffs, and counsel from the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office participated.

 

On July 12, 2018, Camden-Fairview filed the instant motion. Camden-Fairview seeks injunctive relief “restraining the [ADE] and the [SBE] from enforcing the [SBE’s] March 26, 2018 order . . . requiring [Camden-Fairview] to participate in the Arkansas Public School Choice Act of 2015, as amended by Act 1066 of 2017” or, alternatively, “that the Court enjoin [Camden-Fairview] from participating in school choice pursuant to the SBE’s Order.” (ECF No. 284, ¶ 1). Camden-Fairview requests that injunctive relief remain in effect until an evidentiary hearing may be held on the issue of whether Camden-Fairview’s desegregation obligations conflict with 

 

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participation in school choice. Camden-Fairview also requests that, if injunctive relief is granted, that the Court waive the bond requirement. On July 20, 2018, Plaintiffs filed a response in support of the instant motion. (ECF No. 287). State Defendants oppose the motion.

 

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65 governs preliminary injunctions and temporary restraining orders. “The primary function of a preliminary injunction is to preserve the status quo until, upon final hearing, a court may grant full, effective relief.” Ferry-Morse Seed Co. v. Food Corn, Inc., 729 F.2d 589, 593 (8th Cir. 1984). It is well established that “a preliminary injunction is an extraordinary and drastic remedy, one that should not be granted unless the movant, by a clear showing, carries the burden of persuasion.” Mazurek v. Armstrong, 520 U.S. 968, 972 (1997) (emphasis in original).

 

The determination of whether a preliminary injunction is warranted involves consideration of: “(1) the threat of irreparable harm to the movant; (2) the state of balance between this harm and the injury that granting the injunction will inflict on other parties . . . ; (3) the probability that [the] movant will succeed on the merits; and (4) the public interest.” Dataphase Sys., Inc. v. C L Sys., Inc., 640 F.2d 109, 114 (8th Cir. 1981). Although no single factor in itself is dispositive, the probability of success on the merits is the most significant. Barrett v. Claycomb, 705 F.3d 315, 320 (8th Cir. 2013). “The burden of proving that a preliminary injunction should be issued rests entirely with the movant.” Goff v. Harper, 60 F.3d 518, 520 (8th Cir. 1995).

 

III. DISCUSSION

The Court will first address whether Camden-Fairview will be irreparably harmed absent an injunction, and then will turn to the other Dataphase factors, if necessary.

 

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Although the probability of success on the merits is the predominant Dataphase factor, the Eighth Circuit has “repeatedly emphasized the importance of a showing of irreparable harm.” Caballo Coal Co. v. Ind. Mich. Power Co., 305 F.3d 796, 800 (8th Cir. 2002). A party seeking injunctive relief must demonstrate that the injury is of such imminence that there is a clear and present need for equitable relief to prevent irreparable harm. Packard Elevator v. Interstate Commerce Comm’n, 782 F.2d 112, 115 (8th Cir. 1986). To carry its burden, a party must demonstrate that a cognizable danger of a future violation exists and is more than a mere possibility. See Rogers v. Scurr, 676 F.2d 1211, 1214 (8th Cir. 1982) (citing Connecticut v. Massachusetts, 282 U.S. 660, 674 (1931)). The failure to demonstrate irreparable harm is an independently sufficient ground to deny injunctive relief. Watkins Inc. v. Lewis, 346 F.3d 841, 844 (8th Cir. 2003).

 

Camden-Fairview argues that if students are allowed to transfer, it is unlikely those students will ever return to its district. Camden-Fairview claims that this will cause irreparable harm in that it will suffer a segregative impact, as well as the financial impact caused by the loss of fifteen students. At the preliminary injunction hearing, Camden-Fairview also argued that it could suffer irreparable harm by being required to violate the Milton and Lancaster Orders by participating in school choice until the Court rules on Camden-Fairview’s underlying Motion for Declaratory Judgment.

 

In response, State Defendants argue that the harm Camden-Fairview cites is “certainly not irreparable.” (ECF No. 291, p. 26). State Defendants assert that if Camden-Fairview were to ultimately prevail it is “entirely possible” that the Court would order that students that had transferred must return to Camden-Fairview and “order the restitution of the per-student funding that [Camden-Fairview] lost by virtue of the unconstitutional application of the school-choice

 

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law.” (ECF No. 291, p. 26). Furthermore, State Defendants assert that the only harm that would result from a denial of preliminary injunctive relief would be the loss of fifteen students and that—if Camden-Fairview ultimately prevailed—future losses would be prevented through permanent injunctive relief. Finally, State Defendants argue that the “difference a denial of injunctive relief [and, accordingly, the loss of fifteen students] would make is a mere 0.3% increase in the black percentage of its student body.” (ECF No. 291, p. 26). According to State Defendants, this change would be de minimis, no student would notice such a change, and no parent’s “perception of [Camden-Fairview’s] racial identity would be affected.” (ECF No. 291, p. 26).

 

Upon consideration, the Court finds that Camden-Fairview has failed to carry its burden of establishing that, absent preliminary injunctive relief, it will suffer irreparable harm. Specifically, the Court is not persuaded that Camden-Fairview will suffer imminent financial harm if the approved student transfers leave Camden-Fairview. Mark Keith, superintendent at Camden-Fairview, testified at the August 1, 2018, hearing that Camden-Fairview’s funding for the 2018-2019 school year is already in place. Likewise, Mr. Keith testified that Camden-Fairview will not suffer any immediate financial harm if it lost the fifteen students who are seeking transfers. Taken together with the testimony offered by other superintendents in the other school desegregation cases before the Court, it becomes clear that Camden-Fairview will not suffer imminent financial harm from the loss of certain transferring students. Although Mr. Keith’s testimony indicated that Camden-Fairview might suffer financial harm in the future due to the reduction in students, this potential harm is too far removed from the present to support a finding of irreparable harm. See Rogers, 676 F.2d at 1214 (stating that a preliminary injunction “may not be used simply to eliminate a possibility of a remote future injury”).

 

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Moreover, the Court is not convinced that the loss of certain students, in and of itself, constitutes irreparable harm to Camden-Fairview. Camden-Fairview cites no authority supporting this proposition, and the Court is unaware of any. Absent any such authority, the Court cannot find that Camden-Fairview will suffer irreparable harm solely from the loss of certain students.

 

The Court is also unpersuaded by Camden-Fairview’s argument that it will suffer irreparable harm by being required to participate in school choice until the Court rules on Camden-Fairview’s underlying Motion for Declaratory Judgment. At the preliminary injunction hearing, Camden-Fairview argued that if the Court were to eventually rule in Camden-Fairview’s favor on the Motion for Declaratory Judgment, it will have violated the terms of the Milton and Lancaster Orders by participating in school choice in the meanwhile. To be fair, this could constitute harm in certain circumstances. However, this notion is predicated on the idea that the Court will eventually grant Camden-Fairview’s Motion for Declaratory Judgment. If, on the other hand, the Court denies the instant motion and eventually denies Camden-Fairview’s Motion for Declaratory Judgment, Camden-Fairview will not have suffered any harm from participating in school choice, as the Court will have determined that the district may do so without violating the Milton and Lancaster Orders. It is well established that irreparable harm must be certain and cannot be speculative. See S.J.W. v. Lee’s Summit R-7 Sch. Dist., 696 F.3d 771, 779 (8th Cir. 2012) (“Speculative harm does not support a preliminary injunction.”). This argument, at this point, is purely speculative and the mere possibility of harm is inadequate to support a finding of irreparable harm.

 

In sum, the Court finds that Camden-Fairview has not satisfied its burden of making a clear showing that it would suffer irreparable harm absent injunctive relief. Mazurek, 520 U.S. at 972. Accordingly, the Court need not proceed to the remaining Dataphase factors, as failure to show 

 

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irreparable harm is an independently sufficient ground to deny injunctive relief.3 Watkins, 346 F.3d at 844.

 

3 The Court also finds that Camden-Fairview has not satisfied its burden to obtain a temporary restraining order, as the Dataphase factors are also used to determine whether to issue a temporary restraining order. See Williams v. Silvey, No. 4:09-cv-211-FRB, 2009 WL 1920187, at *1 (E.D. Mo. July 1, 2009) (applying the Dataphase factors in denying a motion for a temporary restraining order). Thus, the Court’s analysis for whether to grant a request for a temporary restraining order is the same as for a preliminary injunction. 

 

IV. CONCLUSION 

For the foregoing reasons, the Court finds that Camden-Fairview’s Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction (ECF No. 284) should be and hereby is DENIED. 

 

IT IS SO ORDERED, this 8th day of August, 2018. 

/s/ Susan O. Hickey 

Susan O. Hickey 

United States District Judge 

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Hope School District’s Motion for Temporary Restraining Order, Preliminary Injunction DENIED

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Wednesday, August 8, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, August 8, 2018

 

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS 

TEXARKANA DIVISION

 

ROSIE L. DAVIS, et al. PLAINTIFFS

 

v. Case No. 4:88-cv-4082

 

WILLIAM DALE FRANKS, et al. DEFENDANTS 

ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION and 

ARKANSAS STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION INTERVENORS 

 

ORDER

 

Before the Court is the Hope School District’s (“Hope”) Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction. (ECF No. 150). Plaintiffs have filed a response in support of the motion.1 (ECF No 155). The Arkansas Department of Education and the Arkansas State Board of Education (the “ADE and SBE”) have filed a response in opposition. (ECF No. 161). Hope has filed a reply. (ECF No. 164). On August 1, 2018, the Court held a hearing on the matter. The Court finds this matter ripe for consideration.

 

1 In their response, Plaintiffs state that they join Hope in the instant motion, and also independently move for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction enjoining Hope from participating in school choice. However, Plaintiffs have not briefed the issue and, therefore, the Court cannot consider Plaintiffs’ independent request for preliminary injunctive relief. See Local Rule 7.2(e) (providing that motions for preliminary injunctions shall not be considered unless accompanied by a separate brief). Accordingly, the Court will simply consider the instant motion to be a joint motion for injunctive relief. 

 

I. BACKGROUND

 

On August 5, 1988, this case was filed by African American individuals who were employed by or were parents of students who attended the Hope Public School District No. 1A in Hope, Arkansas. Plaintiffs sought to redress alleged racial discrimination regarding Hope’s treatment of African American students and faculty. On November 16, 1989, the Court dismissed 

 

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the case with prejudice subject to the terms of a consent decree entered into by the parties (hereinafter the “Davis Decree”). (ECF Nos. 37, 38). The Davis Decree provided, inter alia, that:

 

[I]t is the intent of this Decree to remedy any past discrimination based upon race and to prevent any like discrimination from occurring in the future. Although this action is brought on behalf of named black individual pupils and staff, the parties hereby agree that this Decree shall be equally applied to all such students and staff now and hereafter within the Hope School District No. 1A . . .

 

The Court, by consent of the parties, therefore enjoins, forbids and restrains the defendants from hereinafter engaging in any policies, practices, customs or usages of racial discrimination in any of its school operations including, but not limited to, faculty assignments, student assignments, and the treatment of black and other minority pupils within the school system . . .

 

The Court shall have continuing jurisdiction of this Consent Decree in order to [e]nsure compliance with the spirit and terms of this Decree. 

(ECF No. 38, ¶ 3, 4, 21). In dismissing the case, the Court retained jurisdiction to reopen this action upon cause shown that the settlement had not been completed and that further litigation is necessary. (ECF No. 37).

 

On May 14, 2018, Hope filed a Motion for Declaratory Judgment, or Alternatively, for Clarification of Previous Orders, or Alternatively, for Modification of Previous Orders (hereinafter “Motion for Declaratory Judgment”). (ECF No. 129). In that motion, Hope states that it is still subject to the obligations imposed by the Davis Decree. Accordingly, Hope asserts that it has a conflict with taking part in school choice pursuant to the Arkansas Public School Choice Act of 2015, as amended by Act 1066 of the Regular Session of 2017 (hereinafter the “2017 Act”).2 Hope states further that the ADE and SBE have ordered Hope to participate in school choice for the 2018-19 school year. Hope’s Motion for Declaratory Judgment seeks, by various alternative

 

2 The 2017 Act provides, in relevant part, that each Arkansas school district must participate in a school choice program wherein students may apply to attend a school in a nonresident district, subject to certain limitations. Ark. Code Ann. § 6-18-1903. School districts may apply for exemptions from participating in school choice by producing evidence that the district has a genuine conflict under a federal court’s active and enforceable desegregation order or plan that explicitly limits the transfer of students between school districts. Ark. Code Ann. § 6-18-1906(a). The ADE decides a school district’s application for an exemption from participating in school choice and the SBE hears appeals of the ADE’s decisions on the same. See id. 

 

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means, a finding that Hope is prohibited from taking part in school choice and/or a declaration that portions of the 2017 Act are unconstitutional.

 

On May 23, 2018, the Court issued an order certifying Hope’s constitutional challenge and sending notice to the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office of the same, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 5.1(b). (ECF No. 29). On June 15, 2018, the ADE and SBE filed a motion to intervene in this case for the limited purpose of opposing Hope’s Motion for Declaratory Judgment. (ECF No. 142). On June 22, 2018, the Court held a status conference in which Hope, Plaintiffs, and counsel from the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office participated. On July 2, 2018, the Court granted the ADE and SBE’s motion to intervene, thereby allowing those parties to intervene for the limited purpose of opposing Hope’s Motion for Declaratory Judgment. (ECF No. 148). On July 16, 2018, the ADE and SBE filed their response in opposition to Hope’sMotion for Declaratory Judgment. (ECF No. 149).

 

On July 19, 2018, Hope filed the instant motion. Hope seeks preliminary injunctive relief “restraining the [ADE] and the [SBE] from enforcing the [SBE’s] March 26, 2018 order . . . requiring Hope to participate in the Arkansas Public School Choice Act of 2015, as amended by Act 1066 of 2017” or, alternatively, “that the Court enjoin Hope from participating in school choice pursuant to the SBE’s Order.” (ECF No. 150, ¶ 1). Hope requests that injunctive relief remain in effect until an evidentiary hearing may be held on the issue of whether Hope’s desegregation obligations conflict with participation in school choice. Hope also requests that, if injunctive relief is granted, that the Court waive the bond requirement. On July 20, 2018, Plaintiffs filed a response in support of the instant motion. The ADE and SBE oppose the motion. 

 

II. LEGAL STANDARD 

 

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65 governs preliminary injunctions and temporary restraining orders. “The primary function of a preliminary injunction is to preserve the status quo 

 

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until, upon final hearing, a court may grant full, effective relief.” Ferry-Morse Seed Co. v. Food Corn, Inc., 729 F.2d 589, 593 (8th Cir. 1984). It is well established that “a preliminary injunction is an extraordinary and drastic remedy, one that should not be granted unless the movant, by a clear showing, carries the burden of persuasion.” Mazurek v. Armstrong, 520 U.S. 968, 972 (1997) (emphasis in original).

 

The determination of whether a preliminary injunction is warranted involves consideration of: “(1) the threat of irreparable harm to the movant; (2) the state of balance between this harm and the injury that granting the injunction will inflict on other parties . . . ; (3) the probability that [the] movant will succeed on the merits; and (4) the public interest.” Dataphase Sys., Inc. v. C L Sys., Inc., 640 F.2d 109, 114 (8th Cir. 1981). Although no single factor in itself is dispositive, the probability of success on the merits is the most significant. Barrett v. Claycomb, 705 F.3d 315, 320 (8th Cir. 2013). “The burden of proving that a preliminary injunction should be issued rests entirely with the movant.” Goff v. Harper, 60 F.3d 518, 520 (8th Cir. 1995).

 

III. DISCUSSION

 

The Court will first address whether Hope has shown that it will be irreparably harmed absent an injunction, and then will turn to the other Dataphase factors, if necessary.

 

Although the probability of success on the merits is the predominant Dataphase factor, the Eighth Circuit has “repeatedly emphasized the importance of a showing of irreparable harm.” Caballo Coal Co. v. Ind. Mich. Power Co., 305 F.3d 796, 800 (8th Cir. 2002). A party seeking injunctive relief must demonstrate that the injury is of such imminence that there is a clear and present need for equitable relief to prevent irreparable harm. Packard Elevator v. Interstate Commerce Comm’n, 782 F.2d 112, 115 (8th Cir. 1986). To carry its burden, a party must demonstrate that a cognizable danger of a future violation exists and is more than a mere possibility. See Rogers v. Scurr, 676 F.2d 1211, 1214 (8th Cir. 1982) (citing Connecticut v. 

 

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Massachusetts, 282 U.S. 660, 674 (1931)). The failure to demonstrate irreparable harm is an independently sufficient ground to deny injunctive relief. Watkins Inc. v. Lewis, 346 F.3d 841, 844 (8th Cir. 2003).

 

Hope argues that if students are allowed to transfer, it is unlikely those students will ever return to Hope. Hope claims that this will cause irreparable harm in that Hope will suffer a segregative impact, as well as the financial impact caused by the loss of sixty-nine students.3 At the preliminary injunction hearing, Hope also argued that it could suffer irreparable harm by being required to participate in school choice until the Court rules on Hope’s underlying Motion for Declaratory Judgment, thereby violating the Davis Decree during that period.

 

3 Although the instant motion states that sixty-nine students seek to leave Hope pursuant to school choice, Hope stated in the August 1, 2018, hearing that seventy students sought a transfer, and that twenty-three of those students were accepted by another school district.

 

In response, the ADE and SBE argue that the harm Hope cites is “certainly not irreparable.” (ECF No. 116, p. 22). The ADE and SBE assert that if Hope ultimately prevails on its underlying Motion for Declaratory Judgment, it is “entirely possible” that the Court would order that the students who transferred must return to Hope and “order the restitution of the per-student funding that Hope lost by virtue of the unconstitutional application of the school-choice law.” (ECF No. 116, p. 22). Furthermore, the ADE and SBE assert that the only harm that would result from a denial of preliminary injunctive relief would be the loss of sixty-nine students and that—if Hope ultimately prevailed—future losses would be prevented through permanent injunctive relief. Finally, the ADE and SBE argue that the “difference a denial of injunctive relief [and, accordingly, the loss of sixty-nine students] would make is a less than 5% increase in the black percentage of its student body.” (ECF No. 116, p. 22). According to the ADE and SBE, this change would be de minimis, no student would notice such a change, and no parent’s “perception of Hope’s racial identity would be affected.” (ECF No. 116, p. 22). 

 

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Upon consideration, the Court finds that Hope has failed to carry its burden of establishing that it will suffer irreparable harm absent preliminary injunctive relief. The Court is not persuaded that Hope will suffer imminent financial harm if the approved student transfers leave Hope. Bobby Hart, superintendent at Hope, testified at the August 1, 2018, hearing that Hope’s funding for the 2018-2019 school year is already in place. Likewise, Mr. Hart testified that Hope will not suffer any immediate financial harm. Taken together with the testimony offered by other superintendents in the other school desegregation cases before the Court, it becomes clear that Hope will not suffer imminent financial harm from the loss of certain transferring students. Although Mr. Hart’s testimony suggests that Hope might suffer financial harm in several years due to the reduction in students, this potential harm is too far removed from the present to support a finding of irreparable harm. See Rogers, 676 F.2d at 1214 (stating that a preliminary injunction “may not be used simply to eliminate a possibility of a remote future injury”).

 

Moreover, the Court is not convinced that the loss of certain students, in and of itself, constitutes irreparable harm to Hope. Hope cites no authority supporting this proposition, and the Court is unaware of any. Absent any such authority, the Court cannot find that Hope will suffer irreparable harm solely from the loss of certain students.

 

The Court is also unpersuaded by Hope’s argument that it will suffer irreparable harm by being required to participate in school choice until the Court rules on Hope’s underlying Motion for Declaratory Judgment. At the preliminary injunction hearing, Hope argued that if the Court were to eventually rule in Hope’s favor on the underlying Motion for Declaratory Judgment, Hope will have violated the terms of the Davis Decree by participating in school choice in the meanwhile. To be fair, this could constitute harm in certain circumstances. However, this notion is predicated on the idea that the Court will eventually grant Hope’s Motion for Declaratory Judgment. If, on the other hand, the Court denies the instant motion and eventually denies Hope’s 

 

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Motion for Declaratory Judgment, Hope will not have suffered any harm from participating in school choice, as the Court will have determined that Hope may do so without violating the Davis Decree. It is well established that irreparable harm must be certain and cannot be speculative. See S.J.W. v. Lee’s Summit R-7 Sch. Dist., 696 F.3d 771, 779 (8th Cir. 2012) (“Speculative harm does not support a preliminary injunction.”). This argument, at this point, is too speculative, as the mere possibility of harm is inadequate to support a finding of irreparable harm.

 

In sum, the Court finds that Hope has not satisfied its burden of making a clear showing that it would suffer irreparable harm absent preliminary injunctive relief. Mazurek, 520 U.S. at 972. Accordingly, the Court need not proceed to the remaining Dataphase factors, as failure to show irreparable harm is an independently sufficient ground to deny injunctive relief.4 Watkins, 346 F.3d at 844.

 

4 The Court also finds that Hope has not satisfied its burden to obtain a temporary restraining order, as the Dataphase factors are also used to determine whether to issue a temporary restraining order. See Williams v. Silvey, No. 4:09-cv-211-FRB, 2009 WL 1920187, at *1 (E.D. Mo. July 1, 2009) (applying the Dataphase factors in denying a motion for a temporary restraining order). Thus, the Court’s analysis for whether to grant a request for a temporary restraining order is the same as for a preliminary injunction. 

 

IV. CONCLUSION

 

For the foregoing reasons, the Court finds that Hope School District’s Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction (ECF No. 150) should be and hereby is DENIED. 

 

IT IS SO ORDERED, this 8th day of August, 2018.

/s/ Susan O. Hickey 

Susan O. Hickey 

United States District Judge 

 

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LRSD: Power of Us vs. Priority of Them

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Wednesday, August 8, 2018
Updated: Thursday, September 6, 2018

Who will take responsibility?

Of 995 Arkansas public schools, only the Division of Youth Services (2%) scored worse on ACT Aspire Math readiness than the Little Rock School District's (LRSD) Hall High School (3.9%). (State Average: 47%; LRSD Average: 36%)

Of 998 Arkansas public schools, only Arkansas School for the Deaf Elementary (8%) and Division of Youth Services (4%) scored worse on ACT Aspire English readiness than LRSD Hall High School (18%). (State Average: 70%; LRSD Average: 58%)

Of 994 Arkansas public schools, the bottom three scorers in ACT Aspire Science were LRSD Hall High School, LRSD J.A. Fair High School, and Dollarway High School, all with 4% meeting readiness and all under State control. (State Average: 40%; LRSD Average: 29%)

Of 995 Arkansas public schools, LRSD Hall High School was 987th (10%) and LRSD Fair High School was 989th (9%) in percentage of students meeting readiness in Reading on the ACT Aspire. (Arkansas Average: 41%; LRSD Average: 32%)

We tried to find a silver lining in growth, but Hall declined in Math (-.2 points), English (-2 points) and Reading (-1 point), while improving less than +.7 points in Science.

Perhaps most telling, 27% of Hall's core teachers (Math, Science, Social Studies, English Language Arts, Special Education) were absent ten or more days in the first semester of 2017. In the third quarter, 50% of core teachers were absent five or more days.

Triggered by six schools in Academic Distress, in January 2015, the Little Rock School District was taken over by 5-4 vote of the State Board of Education. Three-and-a-half years later, including over two under the same superintendent, here is the latest academic performance and growth of those original six schools, as well as the overall district:

Subject  Arkansas  LRSD  Baseline Cloverdale  Henderson  Fair  Hall  McClellan 
 Math % Ready (Rank of 995)  47%  36%  25% (847)  11% (964)  17% (939)  5% (990)  3.9% (994)   7% (987)
 Math Growth/Decline (Rank of 995)  -0.16  -1
(166 of 262)
 -15 (954)  -5 (771)  -1 (539)  +0.2 (451)  -0.2 (474)  +0.3 (437)
                 
 English % Ready (Rank of 998)  70%  58%  44% (954)  42% (964)  51% (896)  25% (992)  18% (996)  27% (991)
 English Growth/Decline (Rank of 998)  +0.2  0
(158 of 262)
 -6 (873)  -2 (679)  -2 (664)  -4 (790)  -2 (697)  +5 (166)
                 
 Science Ready (Rank of 994)   40%  29%  42% (964)  13% (946)  12% (961)  4% (993)  4% (992)  8% (982)
 Science Growth/Decline (Rank of 994)  -0.7  -1
(143 of 262)
 -5 (814)  -2 (615)  -3 (681)  -1 (501)  +1 (353)  +0.06 (406)
                 
 Reading % Ready (Rank of 995)  41%  32%  12% (972)  17% (936)  19% (913)  9% (989)  10% (987)  12% (973)
 Reading Growth/Decline (Rank of 995)  +0.26

 0
(160 of 262)

 -4 (751)  -1 (570)  -4 (747)  -5 (812)  -1 (578)  -2 (645)

 

The only positive academic news among the schools or even district-wide, in either performance or growth, was:

  • +5 English Growth at McClellan (166 of 998 schools in Arkansas)
  • +1 Science Growth at Hall
  • +0.3 Math Growth at McClellan
  • +0.2 Math Growth at Fair
  • +0.06 Science Growth at McClellan

Conversely, all of the other formerly Academic Distress schools and the overall district stayed the same or declined in all other subject areas, led by Baseline's 15 point drop in Math, 6 point drop in English, 5 point drop in Science, and 4 point drop in Reading.

Truly student-focused education demands urgency, with the best interests of students immediately prioritized over self interests of adults.

Sources

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

https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?ik=42395912

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