The open line: Charter school debate; Pulaski Tech fee increase; UA gun ban; another ruling for marriage equality | Arkansas Blog

Friday, March 21, 2014

The open line: Charter school debate; Pulaski Tech fee increase; UA gun ban; another ruling for marriage equality

Posted By on Fri, Mar 21, 2014 at 3:54 PM

The Friday night line is open. Closing out:

* CHARTER SCHOOL TRIUMPHS OVER OBJECTIONS: Responsive Education Solutions, the problematic charter school operator from Texas hoping to open a Little Rock School District flight charter school in upscale western Little Rock, ran into some opposition today before the state Education Department authorizing panel that reviews charter schools. It wants to move the charter from Rahling Road, where it won approval, to a cul de sac off Financial Center Parkway, just west of Shackleford Road. The organizers didn't reveal during the previous approval process that they intended to dump the Rahling location and move to Hardin Road to save money though the plan was already in process. They thus didn't have to address how they justified moving miles east and close to an exsting Little Rock middle school. The site hasn't been approved for such an intensive use by the city yet. Questions were raised about whether traffic would create a problem for the neighborhood. Responsive Ed dismissed the concerns and said it needed approval to move ahead with renovation work. Department Director Tom Kimbrell said traffic concerns were commonplace and could be handled. He cited successful handling of students at the eStem school downtown. Responsive Ed's lawyer proposed promising to limit enrollment in the existing available space to 290 that it has approval for 490 when all grades are begun. The company hopes to have a high school eventually. The panel, relying on Kimbrell's remark, approved the location change without objection. It continued a pattern of providing little resistance to charter school proposals in the Little Rock School District, no matter the objections from the district or others. The proposal now goes to the state Board of Education, but it has also demonstrated reluctance to alter the judgment of the authorizing panel.

* PULASKI TECH BOARD TO CONSIDER FEE INCREASES: The Board of Pulaski Tech will have a special meeting at 3 p.m. Monday to discuss potential student fee increases. It's an outgrowth of the recent failure of a property tax to support school operations.

The board will discuss a new general fee for fall 2014 ranging from $5 to $20 per credit hour to support instruction and administration. The board also will consider increases in fees for technical programs ranging from $15 to $40 an hour, depending on courses from aviation to welding.

* OLDIE GOLDIESA Louisiana political tipsheet reports on a telephone poll that shows 86-year-old Edwin Edwards, the former governor and ex-con, in the lead for a race for an open congressional seat, though perhaps short of support to win a runoff against a likely Republican opponent. Amusing news. Also amusing was the pollster — Darrell Glascock. How to describe Glascock in a few words? Impossible. Try Wikipedia. He was a consultant in Arkansas, tightly associated with Tommy Robinson in his most flamboyant years. A periodic candidate. Louisiana is his home now. Good fit.

* CHELSE ON TONIGHT: We had a little talk last night about Chelsea Clinton's appearance on the Tonight Show. Check it out here.

* ANOTHER BLOW FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY: A Michigan federal judge (Reagan appointee) has struck down that state's ban on same-sex marriage. The decision repudiates the junk science marriage equality foes have cobbled up as a defense of discrimination. 

* NO GUNS AT UA: The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees renewed its vote to ban guns on campus.  Sorry, Charlie.

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