Helena-West Helena seeks to regain control of school district | Arkansas Blog

Monday, March 9, 2015

Helena-West Helena seeks to regain control of school district

Posted By on Mon, Mar 9, 2015 at 7:32 AM

Andrew Bagley, president of the advisory board appointed for Helena-West Helena schools after they were taken over by the state for financial problems, says the district has regain its financial footing, has a substantial fund balance and should be allowed to resume governance.

The district will be before the state Board of Education Thursday.

While fiscal issues are the primary concern in Helena, Bagley is like other school people in the state — fearful of what could be in store if Sen. Bruce Cozart passes legislation that will give the state broad power to take over school districts and outsource their operation to private companies. The KIPP charter school organization operates in Helena-West Helena now and, while under state control, the formerly autonomous districts has sold district buildings — over the advisory board's objections — to KIPP for token sums.

Bagley's letter to the Board:


Dear Members of the State Board of Education:

As the President of the Helena-West Helena School District Advisory School Board, I am writing to you today to formally request that you return local governance to our school district after four years of state control when you consider the fate of our schools at your meeting on Thursday.

The Helena-West Helena School District was taken over after being classified in fiscal distress. Since that time, our unrestricted fund balances have more than doubled and stood at over $7,000,000 as of January 31. The Helena-West Helena School District is a financially healthy school district.

While we have been under the supervision of the state, the district has implemented cost reduction measures that insure financial stability moving forward. We have reduced the number of campuses in operation and eliminated more than 100 positions so that our expenses will be in line with our ongoing revenue. The district continues to look for additional cost-savings regularly and is very sensitive to the importance of sound financial management.

Our school district has greatly reduced its audit difficulties and has made progress to deal with the items cited in the most recent audit which was released early by the Division of Legislative Audit.

Additionally, it is my opinion that the leadership provided locally through the Advisory School Board combined with the painful trauma associated with the stigma state takeover brought to our community has equipped our community to be ready for and deserving of another chance to locally operate our schools.

Finally, if we had local control today, we would not be eligible for classification as being fiscally distressed because the relevant statutes require that two of the qualifying circumstances be in place simultaneously. As of today, the only item that remains is the greatly reduced audit findings because our fund balances are as substantial for a district our size as any other similarly-sized school district in this state.

With that in mind, I implore you to return local control to our district. We have made great progress during the last four years, and our community has learned many lessons from this experience. We are confident of a bright future for our district and its students. Four years is plenty of time to serve as a consequence for our past sins. Please allow our district to resume governing itself with a locally elected board of directors.

Thanks to each of you for the sacrifices you make to serve the students of Arkansas and for considering the information in this correspondence.

Respectfully,

Andrew Bagley
President, Helena-West Helena School District Advisory School Board

Tags: , , , , , ,


Favorite

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Jerry Dhonau, former Gazette editorial page editor, dies at 83

    Jerry Dhonau, a retired newspaperman whose career included reporting on the Little Rock school crisis and being editorial page editor of the Arkansas Gazette when it closed in 1991, has died. Ernest Dumas provides his colleague’s obituary.
    • Aug 18, 2018
  • DHS confirms it's withholding personnel records on Leslie Rutledge

    Chris Burks, the lawyer in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking personnel records of Attorney General Leslie Rutledge when she was a staff lawyer at the Department of Human Services, says DHS confirms the existence of records that have not been released in previous examinations of her record there.
    • Aug 18, 2018
  • Death reported in Malvern prison

    The Correction Department is reporting what it calls an apparent suicide Thursday evening in the Ouachita River Correction unit in Malvern.
    • Aug 18, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Women's March planned in Arkansas to mark Trump inauguration

    Speaking of Donald Trump and in answer to a reader's question: There will be a women's march in Arkansas on Jan. 21, the day after inauguration, as well as the national march planned in Washington.
    • Dec 30, 2016
  • The LR chamber does the public's business. Is it accountable? Blue Hog on the case.

    Matt Campbell, lawyer and Blue Hog Report blogger, has sent a Freedom of Information Act request to Jay Chessir, director of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Mayor Mark Stodola related to the publicity stunt yesterday  built around withdrawing from the mayor's rash pronouncement that the city would seek an Amazon HQ2 project even though the city  didn't meet the company's criteria.
    • Oct 20, 2017
  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Slideshows

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation