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Re: “Key approves Little Rock sale of school building to Waltons. Purpose still not revealed.

Disposal of Surplus Real Property

The Board of Directors recognizes that real property it owns sometimes becomes no longer of use to the District and thus meets this policys definition of surplus real property.

The Superintendent may submit a request to the Board of Directors for authorization to sell surplus real property. Once the Board of Directors has authorized the sale of such surplus real property, the Superintendent or designated individual(s) may sell that surplus real property as the need arises. The Superintendent or designee(s) shall be responsible for getting a determination of the objective fair market value of surplus real property3. The district will strive to dispose of surplus items at or near their fair market value. The real property may be listed for sale with a real estate broker, and the Superintendent or designated individual may contract on behalf of the district to pay the usual and customary sales commission for such transactions, upon sale of the property.

Except when the District receives and accepts an offer to lease or purchase surplus real property from a purchaser for an amount that exceeds the fair market value through a bid process, an open-enrollment public charter school that draws its students from the District shall have a right of first refusal to purchase or lease for fair market value any of the Districts surplus real property.

If the Superintendent chooses to dispose of the surplus items by bid, the Superintendent or designee(s) may set a minimum or reserve price on any item, and may reject all bids. The Superintendent or designee is authorized to accept the high bid provided the high bid is at or near the fair market value without further Board action unless the high bid comes under the jurisdiction of Arkansas ethics legislation in which case the provisions of A.C.A. 6-24-101107 would apply.

If attempts at public sales fail to produce any interested buyers or bidders, such remaining unsold real property may then, if agreed to by the Superintendent and Board of Directors, be donated to appropriate education related entities, not-for-profit organizations, or the county/, city, or incorporated town in accordance with the provisions of state law.4
2015 Arkansas School Boards Association

Items obtained with federal funds shall be handled in accordance with applicable federal regulations, if any.

The disposal of school property must be for the benefit of the school district and consistent with good business principles.

9 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by inthetrenches on 08/11/2017 at 6:10 PM

Re: “Bills filed to end 'fair dismissal' process for teachers in takeover districts and principals statewide

I don't agree that firing a teacher must be too difficult because someone has never seen it done. As you said, that's your anecdotal experience.

My experience, as someone who has advocated for teachers is this: As in the "real" business world, most teachers resign rather than be fired. It's much easier to find another job outside of education if you don't have a firing on your record. Most HR departments--in business as well as schools--much prefer to deal with a resignation as opposed to having to do the paperwork to fire someone. Most teachers who are fired are fired for the causes Kathy listed: drugs/alcohol/insubordination. Struggling teachers are supposed to be given help to try to improve, and if no improvement is made they CAN be fired. I've seen it done.

I'm also old enough to remember teaching before fair dismissal. A teacher whose contract was not renewed after the (staunch Baptist) superintendent saw her entering a liquor store. The teacher whose contract wasn't renewed because the superintendent's niece was graduating and really wanted to be a 4th grade teacher. Notice I'm not saying a direct firing. The act also covers teachers from simply being non-renewed for capricious reasons. The law was put into place to protect teachers from "arbitrary, capricious, or discriminatory actions", and that "nonrenewal, termination, or suspension of a teacher should be raised to a standard of just and reasonable cause."

Also, from the law: "This subchapter is not a teacher tenure law in that it does not confer lifetime appointment of teachers." Repeat: This is not teacher tenure. It requires that there be a "just and reasonable cause" when a teacher is fired or non-renewed. That's it.

Teaching is a job that requires dealing with students, parents, community, administration, and multiple levels of elected officials on a daily basis.

It's a rewarding but difficult job, and teachers deserve to have the minimal job protection of requiring a "just and reasonable cause" before being fired or non-renewed.

15 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by inthetrenches on 12/02/2016 at 9:53 PM

Re: “Little Rock School District report; good news marks Kurrus' farewell

Did the LRSD take the tests on computer or did they do pencil and paper? I've read there's a definite bump in scores on paper.

Some of the schools that didn't do as well as you'd expect did the test on computer. And some of those same schools are getting hammered by district admin and community for poor scores.

Just wondering if the scores might be impacted by the method of testing, which is something the teachers have no say over.

9 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by inthetrenches on 06/09/2016 at 1:18 PM

Re: “Arkansas Advocates highlights achievement gap in Arkansas and neighboring states

Yes. Poverty and everything that goes along with it: High mobility, food insecurity, lack of medical care, no enriching experiences, few or no books in the home, little or no access to internet to name a few.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by inthetrenches on 01/27/2016 at 8:55 AM

Re: “Test scores dismal on PARCC test

I am well aware of the differences between criterion-based and norm-referenced assessments, and I've seen the state swing between both on the ACTAAP, coming up with the most interesting and non-scientific hybrid of a norm-referenced, criterion-based test that was used for the last few years of the ACTAAP test starting in 2008. That was the year they stopped releasing the test in total, and the year they grafted a norm-referenced test (STAN 9?) onto a criterion-based (ACTAAP) test.

I make no excuses for the students I teach. I absolutely refuse to judge my students based on their performance on a computer-delivered test that has no independent verification of grade and content appropriateness. They are significantly smarter and certainly more challenged than the students I began teaching in 1985. I still have materials from my first year of teaching and what we're asking of students is leaps and bounds above what was asked of my students back then.

I repeat and stand by my original statement: You can't set a cut score for achievement that only a genius can pass. It makes the scores meaningless.

I am also aware that Pear$on owns ACT Aspire. We're already being promised that scores will will come back to us more quickly than this year. That would not be a difficult or rigorous bar for Pear$on to clear.

4 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by inthetrenches on 01/18/2016 at 7:47 PM

Re: “Test scores dismal on PARCC test

That depends on what the 100 questions were! If there were 100 questions that were grade and age appropriate, then maybe a 42 out a 100 might be a poor score. If those 100 questions were wildly above grade level, then a 42 out of 100 might be a phenomenal score. Most standardized tests are normed, and the actual number of correct questions is meaningless. Students are given a percentile score--how did you score in comparison to other students in your grade level across the nation on that test at that time of year. I assure you, we have some very smart students. And those smart students are NOT failing, no matter what this test says.

Something I did notice about the PARCC--the scores run up to a point total of 850, but the bottom score only goes to a 600. (Maybe 650? My materials are at school.) In other words, what looks like an 850 range of possible scores is in reality only a range of 250 points between the bottom and the top of the scale. And this was all determined on VERY FEW questions at elementary level. Pear$on hasn't released any test items, either.

PARCC was a poor test that cost a bundle and that tells us nothing but makes public schools look like a disaster. A win-win from the Pear$on/Walton reform group.

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by inthetrenches on 01/18/2016 at 6:54 PM

Re: “Test scores dismal on PARCC test

No, we have not been lying to parents for years. The scoring of the PARCC test is set to match the cut scores of the NAEP test, a level that is out of the reach of almost all students nationwide.…

From a personal perspective: I have scrutinized the test scores of my 2014-15 students. The only student who made the cut score in both Math and Literacy is a gifted student with an IQ measured at genius level. The other gifted students--and there are many in that class--did NOT pass both tests. Other teachers from other schools from other districts are telling me they're seeing the same thing.

We can't set the passing score of a test at genius level. If we're so determined to fail everyone, let's just be honest and give the elementary students the high school ACT test. It will show "college and career readiness" and most elementary students will fail.

If we're going to spend millions of dollars on a test, at least have it do something more than just differentiate between "genius" and "everyone else."

10 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by inthetrenches on 01/18/2016 at 4:59 PM

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