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KJW

Northwest Arkansas Times: Could one of the area's school districts become the next Jenks, OK?

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I've said in recent times that we're in a major metropolitan area that doesn't yet know it is one. This truncated article seems to echo my thoughts. It's as if folks don't understand that people often WANT (unconsciously) sprawl. They don't always want to be in the main city of a metro area, or in our case, "cities", and they settle in outlying areas just for that reason.

I think it's kind of a bad comparison right now as the NWA cities are generally suburban in their own right, much more like Jenks than Tulsa. The smaller rural areas around it clearly have inferior schools.

If Lowell had its own schools, I wonder if it would've ended up becoming a "flight" area from Springdale and Rogers.

I think immigration is going to take a toll on Springdale and cause flight to the other cities and Springdale may be destined to be NWA's "bad area". Rogers is viewed by some to be at risk but I think the newer developments there and proximity to Bentonville will keep it largely upscale with the immigrants remaining a relative minority and the schools won't be terribly affected.

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My vote for the next Jenks, OK of Benton County (and Siloam Springs doesn't count...its high school is already at 1,000 or more in enrollment from what I've read):

Gravette, AR...here's pics (sorry for the lack of clarity) taken today of their new high school to open this fall...they're hard to make out but there are multiple vehicles parked to the southeast (right in front of the high gymnasium-like structure at picture right):

(Facing northwest)

ghs1.jpg

(Facing north)

ghs2.jpg

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I'm not able to get the article to come up. It takes me to that website but there's no article.

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^same here

Indeed, they've pulled it for some reason. It was basically saying how Jenks, OK, which used to be a smallish town on the outskirts of Tulsa, now has a junior/senior enrollment of near 1,200 students at its high school, bigger than many of the Tulsa public high schools. (At least one of which, I believe, is now a magnet high school.)

It mentioned the "Big 4" cities (B'ville, F'ville, Rogers, Springdale) and said how most of the students in the area attend public high school within those cities. The article appeared to have been cut short...it only went to 6-8 paragraphs and the last paragraphs did not appear to have been the conclusion. :dontknow:

Now, here's a subquestion to you all.

I think the enrollment for the "Big 4" public high schools breaks down like this, based on numbers I've seen in the local papers (I'm not sure on Fayetteville but that's what I seem to recall):

Bentonville - 3,000 (when they open the freshman wing next school year)

Fayetteville - 1,800 (?)

Rogers - 2,900 (pre-second high school in a couple of years)

Springdale - 2,600

Springdale Har-Ber - 2,300

Plus

Siloam Springs - 1,000+ (just over and growing)

There are these local private high schools that I'm aware of, and I'm sure I'm missing some:

Ambassadors for Christ (Bentonville/Bella Vista)

Fayetteville Christian

Lifeway Christian (Centerton, adding 9th grade this next year and a h.s. grade per year after that)

New Heights Christian (Bentonville, my daughter's school)

Ozark Adventist Academy (Gentry, boarding school)

Providence Christian (Rogers, same situation as Lifeway Christian)

Shiloh Christian, Springdale

The Oaks Academy, Rogers (?)

Here's my question. Look at the enrollments of the public schools above (and the size of the high school complex Gravette (which also pulls students from the rapidly growing western half of Bella Vista from The Highlands all the way to Bassingham Road a mile or less from the new McDonald County Wal-Mart) is building, and I read in the paper where they originally wanted the new school to be bigger than funds are allowing it to be) plus the number of private schools popping up.

I remember in the paper a year or so back the Diocese of Little Rock did a study on whether a Catholic high school was needed in NWA, and came to the conclusion that it wasn't.

Can someone 'splain that to me, Lucy?

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There was something about a Catholic school in the news not long ago. The diocese sold off some land to help pay off some land for a school. I believe they said it was the first big step for it going forward. It still might not get built anytime real soon. But it does seem to be moving forward.

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The Dioscese of Little Rock is actually planning on building a Catholic High School off I-540 and the main thuroughfare in Lowell.

That other study is outdated.

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The Dioscese of Little Rock is actually planning on building a Catholic High School off I-540 and the main thuroughfare in Lowell.

That other study is outdated.

Thanks Matt, I forgot to mention it was in Lowell.

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Thanks Matt, I forgot to mention it was in Lowell.

MCheiss and Mith, thanks.

Seemed to me that when you had two counties with 13,000 kids between six high schools, that there could indeed be a bit of a need for a school for the Catholic community here.

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This is slightly on topic and off. The size of the Fayetteville public school system has always bothered me. Especially since it is the largest city in the metro.

From what I could guess, it is because of all of our suburbs have a school systems as compared with Springdale or Rogers. In Fayetteville, you also have Elkins, Greenland, and Farmington school systems (as well as part of Springdale's). These school systems take in a good part of the Fayetteville city limits. Springdale takes in as far south as the Fullbright Expressway, and Farmington takes in most of the Wedington street area in west Fayetteville (to around 51st, I believe).

Springdale for example seems to pull in students from most of its suburbs. Starting with Lowell, Tontitown, Sonora, 1/2 of Johnson, and 1/2 of Goshen. As well as most of North and NE Fayetteville.

It seems that the Fayetteville School System is losing alot of tax dollars because a good chunk of their limits is in another school district, especially the mall area.

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This is slightly on topic and off. The size of the Fayetteville public school system has always bothered me. Especially since it is the largest city in the metro.

From what I could guess, it is because of all of our suburbs have a school systems as compared with Springdale or Rogers. In Fayetteville, you also have Elkins, Greenland, and Farmington school systems (as well as part of Springdale's). These school systems take in a good part of the Fayetteville city limits. Springdale takes in as far south as the Fullbright Expressway, and Farmington takes in most of the Wedington street area in west Fayetteville (to around 51st, I believe).

Springdale for example seems to pull in students from most of its suburbs. Starting with Lowell, Tontitown, Sonora, 1/2 of Johnson, and 1/2 of Goshen. As well as most of North and NE Fayetteville.

It seems that the Fayetteville School System is losing alot of tax dollars because a good chunk of their limits is in another school district, especially the mall area.

Yeah I've noticed that too. I guess part of it has to do with the fact that since Fayetteville has been the biggest the communities just outside it were more established and set up their own school districts. Where as that didn't happen elsewhere in NWA and those smaller communities ended up in the larger city's school district. I never have understood the mall area and why that is part of Springdale's school district. I know that confuses a lot of people. You also get people who think the mall is actually Springdale which it's not. But the tax dollars from part of that area does go to the Springdale school district. I'm guessing that Fayetteville and Springdale made some deal a long time ago about this.

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Yeah I've noticed that too. I guess part of it has to do with the fact that since Fayetteville has been the biggest the communities just outside it were more established and set up their own school districts. Where as that didn't happen elsewhere in NWA and those smaller communities ended up in the larger city's school district. I never have understood the mall area and why that is part of Springdale's school district. I know that confuses a lot of people. You also get people who think the mall is actually Springdale which it's not. But the tax dollars from part of that area does go to the Springdale school district. I'm guessing that Fayetteville and Springdale made some deal a long time ago about this.

I noticed today in the paper that Springdale is considering building a "super complex" to house 5,000 students (ostensibly in at least 4 separate buildings) which would include an elementary, middle school, junior high and high school.

The district is also planning (as someone said here) to build a third Springdale high school which would house 2,000 students. This high school would be build in 2012, six years from now.

Now, based on what we know is going to be built (second and perhaps third Rogers high school, second Bentonville high school) here's what the high school composition would look like in the NWA area were growth to stop at Bentonville, Rogers and Fayetteville and every city except Springdale, with growth stopping there once they reach their projection of 30,000 students in the Springdale district by 2012:

Bentonville high (1,600 students)*

Bentonville high #2 (1,600 students)*

Rogers high (1,500 students)**

Rogers high #2 (1,500 students)**

Springdale high (2,600 students)

Har-ber high (2,300 students)

Springdale high #3 (2,000 students)

Fayetteville high (2,300 students)^

Siloam Springs high (1,050 students)%

McDonald County, MO high (1,000 students)$

Whew...how many of you remember (as "natives" in their late 40s here have told me) when Bentonville had just one stop light and that one was one of those "yellow blinkers"?

* Based on splitting Bentonville's current high school population, which due to an article about a month ago would be about 3,200 students.

** Based on splitting Rogers' current high school population, which due to previously published reports is just under 3,000 students.

^ Based on making Fayetteville high a four grade school (as has recently been discussed) with its current district population.

% Given most recent district estimates, Siloam High is hovering right above the 1,000 student mark.

$ Given most recent district estimates on-line, MCHS is hovering about 10-20 students below the 1,000 student mark.

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Wow...wish I had Mith's camera yesterday evening.

Driving back from Pryor, OK, I went up to the front of Gravette's new high school. Big and nice...their mascot is the lion, and at the long entry way to the school there are stone statues of lions on either side of the road, with a small wall behind the lion on the left saying "Gravette High School" and the wall behind the lion on the right saying "The pride of Arkansas". (Obviously a take on "a pride of lions" but well-designed nonetheless, even though there are serious ramifications to "pride".)

The light fixtures in the school in the long hall in front of the big auditorium (which you can see for miles away looking northward from Mt. Olive Road on the way to Decatur) look like something one might have seen hanging in an Atlanta, GA law firm in the 90s (not chandeliers, but far from the old flourescent tube lighting so prevalent a few decades ago...I think they're using them in Bentonville schools too). And the school is BIG. It will be interesting to see what the new football stadium (a large excavation site apparently immediately west of the school) looks like next year.

The Gravette district pulls in from the entire western half of Bella Vista...its far northeast limits are at Helmsley & Bassingham Road...as a point of reference, when one exits Highway 71 at Macadoodles (Jane, MO) and turns right into Arkansas up the big hill, Bassingham is the first road one can turn right at past the Arkansas State line (where looking back you see the Jane, MO Wal-Mart Supercenter), with Helmsley about 3 blocks down that turn. The district will take in much if not most of the development along the Bella Vista turnpike. There are already new subdivisions going in west of Hiwasse (between Gravette, BV and Bentonville), and driving through the woods southwest of the high school there are more and more very nice homes going in there.

My vote is still for the Gravette school system to become the next "Jenks".

EDIT: I promise the next time I post not to repeat information I've already said in the thread. I'm getting old. ;)

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It appears that the Executive Director of Finance for the Bentonville School District, Dr. Sterling Ming.

Ming is the former Assistant Superintendent of Jenks Public Schools. This is his first year here in Bentonville.

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Thanks, das...interesting to hear another "Jenks connection".

Talked with a guy from Gravette who said the building pictured above for the new high school (slated to open in a couple of weeks with a 650 seat performing arts center, biology and chemistry classrooms and at least 5 computer labs according to today's paper) will hold initially up to 700 students.

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I don't know what the fascination is with Jenks. I don't consider it much better than FS Southside or the NWA schools or for that matter Bryant, Cabot, or Conway. It's certainly not on par with the Highland Park, Plano, or Southlake districts.

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Jenks is a great district with huge community support. It is so different than the Arkansas schools you mentioned.

Jenks was a dominating district in the early 90's and continues to be a place where folks want to live.

Union Public Schools has become a huge competitor for Jenks ?

Have you ever driven in Jenks Public School District area ? There is no money like it in Arkansas.

In regard to Texas - I couldn't say.

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Jenks is a great district with huge community support. It is so different than the Arkansas schools you mentioned.

Jenks was a dominating district in the early 90's and continues to be a place where folks want to live.

Union Public Schools has become a huge competitor for Jenks ?

Have you ever driven in Jenks Public School District area ? There is no money like it in Arkansas.

In regard to Texas - I couldn't say.

Aporkalypse, I don't think das is trying to put down any Arkansas districts.

It seems to me that there had been a mindset in the past few years that if one wanted to get a public school education in NWA, one goes to the "Big 4" districts (B/R/S/F). That perception may be about to change.

Again, it's only me who's suggesting Gravette...perhaps the original author of the newspaper article thought a different district would be the next "Jenks". However, I've heard from almost since I moved here that Gravette is trying to structure their curriculae much like Bentonville's in as many ways as possible, so they're perhaps at least preparing for the possibility of sprawl and exodus toward a smaller (for the moment) district like theirs among Benton County residents.

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Jenks is a great district with huge community support. It is so different than the Arkansas schools you mentioned.

Jenks was a dominating district in the early 90's and continues to be a place where folks want to live.

Union Public Schools has become a huge competitor for Jenks ?

Have you ever driven in Jenks Public School District area ? There is no money like it in Arkansas.

In regard to Texas - I couldn't say.

I can and I've been there. It's Tulsa's white flight area and that's where the support for the schools comes from. Like what is happening in Richardson which has now lost its crown to Plano, that will happen in Jenks. The same thing is also happening in Germantown, that's the cycle of surburban flight. I wasn't speaking about support from the community, I was talking more about the quality of the education. Outside of OK, you never hear much about Jenks. I'm not saying it's not a good school, just that it's not anything remarkable on the national level.

There's a lot of money and support in Bentonville. It may not translate to much right now but I bet someday it will be a terrific school.

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I agree with you that Bentonville is a great school system and the best of the 4 in NW AR.

Jenks is landlocked due to the Arkansas River and the school district of Bixby to the south.

On the national level I don't know how much you could say Texas schools are regarded. If anything Jenks probably gets a lot of national news due to its sports system.

I can and I've been there. It's Tulsa's white flight area and that's where the support for the schools comes from. Like what is happening in Richardson which has now lost its crown to Plano, that will happen in Jenks. The same thing is also happening in Germantown, that's the cycle of surburban flight. I wasn't speaking about support from the community, I was talking more about the quality of the education. Outside of OK, you never hear much about Jenks. I'm not saying it's not a good school, just that it's not anything remarkable on the national level.

There's a lot of money and support in Bentonville. It may not translate to much right now but I bet someday it will be a terrific school.

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I agree with you that Bentonville is a great school system and the best of the 4 in NW AR.

Really? To be honest I don't keep up that much with the school districts. I don't guess I would have thought Bentonville the top in NWA. I think it certainly could and has great potential with Wal-mart's taxes going to the school district. But hey what do I know, maybe it is already the best school district in NWA.

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I always thought Fayetteville had the top Public school system in the area.

Bentonville's is pretty good though as well.

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I always thought Fayetteville had the top Public school system in the area.

Bentonville's is pretty good though as well.

I sorta thought that too, but I wasn't sure. I'm sure I get some bias because I actually live here. I have heard concerns about Fayetteville's school district. It doesn't have a company like Wal-mart that pays lots of taxes that go to it. The big employer here is the university which of course doesn't pay any taxes to the school district.

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