Favorite

School consolidation 

Rep. Linda Chesterfield's husband may be a Pulaski County School District bus driver. And the district's shabby treatment of drivers may have been the catalyist for her bill to merge the district with the Little Rock and North Little Rock districts, creating two school districts in the county, one on either side of the Arkansas River. But the bill is much more than Chesterfield's revenge. It has broad support. As we went to press, Sen. Tracy Steele of North Little Rock was considering sponsoring the measure in the Senate. Sen. Jim Argue of Little Rock reportedly favored, at the least, full hearings. Jacksonville legislators would still prefer to have their own school district, but this bill could actually help them. The Pulaski County School District successfully fought Jacksonville's secession in federal court. If it is legislated out of existence, it couldn't oppose a future Jacksonville secession request. Officials who have worked on the long-running desegregation case reportedly have told lawmakers they see no desegregation-related obstacles to the two-district legislation. If anything, it would alleviate some racial issues on both sides of the river. The two-district remedy has been a favorite of many in the education and business community for years, particularly in North Little Rock. The merger would offer a solution to North Little Rock's declining population and growing percentage of minority students. Little Rock should like the bill, big-time. For one thing, it would put expanding western Little Rock into the district. That artificial limitation of the district, right at the city's fastest growing and youngest area has been a huge impediment to rational school-siting decisions. I have not yet heard from the western reaches of the city. Booming Chenal Valley, full of people who made home-purchase decisions with school districts in mind, could be presumed to be a source of some opposition. But with racially-oriented school assignment plans and mandated busing a thing of the past in Little Rock, the merged district would like dislocate very few of those people. Rural legislators like the bill because it gives some big city folks a taste of forced consolidation. They also owe Chesterfield a favor. She joined them, against all reason, in the opposition to consolidation of tiny school districts. (There's a suspicion she was repaying a professional favor from a small school superintendent, just by the way.) But, in the Senate, the bill must stand or fall on its own merits. Chesterfield won't be an issue. The bill makes sense in many ways. The Pulaski district is a relic, an overgrown rural school district that forms a doughnut around Pulaski County's major cities. It stretches from beyond Jacksonville to Wrightsville and out to Scott in a form that is exceedingly difficult to manage in terms of school assignment and transportation. The north side has a cohesive community of interest, stretching from North Little Rock through Sherwood and Sylvan Hills. The same is true on the south side for the sprawling city of Little Rock. Personal motivations aside, this is a bill worth serious consideration.
Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Bootstraps for me, not thee

    Mean spirit, hypocrisy and misinformation abound among the rump minority threatening to wreck state government rather than allow passage of the state Medicaid appropriation if it continues to include the Obamacare-funded expansion of health insurance coverage for working poor.
    • Apr 14, 2016
  • Trump: The Obama of 2016?

    Conner Eldridge, the Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. John Boozman, launched an assault on Boozman Monday morning rich with irony and opportunity.
    • May 5, 2016
  • Double-talk

    A couple of instances of doublespeak cropped up in Little Rock over the weekend.
    • Jun 29, 2017

Most Shared

  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
    • Jul 20, 2017
  • We're No. 1! in vote suppression

    It's not often that Arkansas can claim national leadership, so give Secretary of State Mark Martin credit for something.

    • Jul 13, 2017
  • Bangin' in LR

    About 2:30 a.m. Saturday, with the Power Ultra Lounge downtown jammed for a rap show by Finese2Tymes (Ricky Hampton of Memphis), gunfire broke out. Before it was over, 25 people had been wounded by gunfire and three others injured in the rush for safety.
    • Jul 6, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

July

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Pay attention

    If anyone thinks that a crisis with the Power Ultra Lounge shooting, then he hasn't been paying attention to Little Rock.
  • Another Jesus

    If you follow the logic of Jason Rapert and his supporters, God is very pleased so many have donated money to rebuild a giant stone slab with some rules on it. A few minutes on Rapert's Facebook page (if he hasn't blocked you yet) also shows his supporters believe that Jesus wants us to lock up more people in prison, close our borders to those in need and let poor Americans fend for themselves for food and health care.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Another Jesus

    • IBS, were you there in Benghazi to personally witness all of Hillary's blunders like you…

    • on July 23, 2017
  • Re: Another Jesus

    • If God felt it necessary to replace the ten commandments, he could do it like…

    • on July 23, 2017
  • Re: Football for UA Little Rock

    • He's BSC. Students and tuition-paying parents should be VERY vocal that a football program won't…

    • on July 23, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation