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Aporkalypse

Jacksonville schools lose bid for independence

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The Pulaski County Special School District board voted 4-2 to prevent Jacksonville from seceding and forming its own school district. The main reason cited for the denial was that Jacksonville had chosen to include parts of unincorporated Pulaski Co that had not been asked to participate in the petition.

I'm not so sure it's a bad idea to break up the PCSSD into separate area school districts and give Jacksonville, Maumelle and Sherwood independence.

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The Pulaski County Special School District board voted 4-2 to prevent Jacksonville from seceding and forming its own school district. The main reason cited for the denial was that Jacksonville had chosen to include parts of unincorporated Pulaski Co that had not been asked to participate in the petition.

I'm not so sure it's a bad idea to break up the PCSSD into separate area school districts and give Jacksonville, Maumelle and Sherwood independence.

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Good. I'm of the opinion that there are one, if not two too many districts in Pukaski County. My perspective is that this differs little from the general idea of the county-wide government merger. Florida has one district per county. There is a lesson in efficiency to be learned here.

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Only good things can come to the LR metro if Jacksonville, Sherwood, and Maumelle were to split their schools off. LRSD and Pulaski County school district both have a horrible reputation driving most growth to Faulkner, Saline, and Lonoke counties. If LR suburbs within Pulaski county had their own school districts and they had good reputations, it would keep a lot more people in Pulaski county.

One school district per county is efficient, but not the best scenario for Pulaski county.

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Good. I'm of the opinion that there are one, if not two too many districts in Pukaski County. My perspective is that this differs little from the general idea of the county-wide government merger. Florida has one district per county. There is a lesson in efficiency to be learned here.

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In Texas, most cities have their own school district. I'd take Texas schools over those in Florida in a heartbeat. In medium to large metros for a city and all of its inner ring suburbs to be limited to three school districts is uncommon. I generally believe in consolidation but in Pulaski Co I think the PCSSD has held back certain areas from better growth. While I'd rather see Little Rock retain it's population I'd prefer seeing it in Pulaski Co as opposed to Cabot, Conway, and Saline Co. The current Pulaski Co schools are largely ineffectual, in part because local dollars aren't kept locally and also because they lack identity. Nobody identifies with Robinson, Oak Grove, Mills, or North Pulaski the way they identify with Conway, Cabot, Bryant, etc. The communities of Jacksonville, Sherwood and Maumelle would all benefit from carving out their own district and I suspect West Pulaski would as well. They'd be willing to increase property taxes to better fund the district knowing they go go local kids.

Schools and crime are the problems preventing growth in Pulaski Co. Lower crime areas like Sherwood, Maumelle, and West Pulaski are largely being held back by the schools. Allowing them to establish community identity and self-foudn their schools might spark more rapid growth in these areas and shift it in from surrounding counties.

West Pulaski Co in particular is an interesting dilemna. You have a highly affluent population paying the highest property taxes on average in the state and many of the kids actually attend private schools, yet the facilities at Robinson are horrific as those dollars are being diverted elsewhere. This is why schools like LR Christian (where did this even come from?), Arkansas Baptist, and PA are thriving. There is no reason you couldn't have exemplary public schools in that area. It's starting with Chenal Elementary which will open soon, we'll see where this leads. At some point people will demand more of Robinson. A reliably good public school system in Western Pulaski Co would allow LR's population to grow by leaps and bounds as there is no incorporate community there and the city is marching that way anyway, already well past LRSD boundaries.

Maumelle students already have their own elementary and junior high but will soon enough have their own high school as well and this will no doubt help community identity, as traveling to mediocre Oak Grove schools has long been a negative for the community. A Maumelle with 50,000 residents to me is far superior to a Cabot or Bryant that large as it integrates much better with NLR and LR. It is growing fast but with better schools people living in Conway, Benton or Cabot may not see the reason to drive so far.

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I have to go along with the idea of one district in Pulaski county. There is no need to have three or more superintendents and the cost that they come with. Also, there would be one tax rate for the entire county. There could still be so-called community schools where all schools would receive the same amount of funds for their students. Before busing Little Rock had community schools that the residents were proud of. I don't see why this could not be possible again. There could be high schools in Jacksonville, Sherwood, Maumelle, NRL, and LR/West LR. New schools could be built to serve areas of growing population where needed or replace outdated schools(Robinson). The best way to build community schools is to serve the students in the community where they are located. Work to make all the school equal so there would be no need to bus students across the county to so-called magnet schools. I would like to see all magnet schools in the county done away with and in their place all schools would provide a superior education.

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Let's face it, the only reason you still see white kids in Little Rock schools are the presence of two schools - Central, which though not a magnet is basically an AP version of one, and Parkview. End the magnet school system in LR and make it truly a neighborhood system and you basically lose what we still have to the private schools.

The only plus I see in a countywide school system would be shifting power from the inept LR school board with so many agendas to a more balanced and less hostile board. The minus, of course, would be the tainting of the PCSSD.

That said, it's a moot point. The LRSD, NLRSD, and PCSSD will never merge and there is no proposal do to so. The fractionation of the PCSSD is on the table, though. The bottom line is that if the people paying property taxes in Jacksonville want their own school district they are entitled to it. They have that right, though I agree with the PCSSD superintendent that the PCSSD would probably be better off financially without them. If Jacksonville gets away, though, Maumelle is next.

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Maumelle students already have their own elementary and junior high but will soon enough have their own high school as well and this will no doubt help community identity, as traveling to mediocre Oak Grove schools has long been a negative for the community. A Maumelle with 50,000 residents to me is far superior to a Cabot or Bryant that large as it integrates much better with NLR and LR. It is growing fast but with better schools people living in Conway, Benton or Cabot may not see the reason to drive so far.

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I don't know if we in Maumelle really want out. I don't think I'd vote that way. I'm not entirely convinced we'd have the economic pull to build a new HS without the PCSSD.

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Your taxes, along with Chenal/West Pulaski, are subsidizing the rest of the PCSSD. Economics wouldn't be the issue.

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Central, which though not a magnet is basically an AP version of one, and Parkview.

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Why, then, is it not labeled a magnet school the way all the others are? Even McClellan's listed as a magnet, though it doesn't tell you what it's a magnet for.

LRSD Schools

Central, Hall, Fair, and McClellan all have geographic territories that determine if you attend those schools. Parkview does not, it is purely a magnet for enrollment purposes.

Here is a map that shows the zones for Little Rock High Schools...

Little Rock High School Zones

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