Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Truth: Communities are Losing Their Schools

By Debbie Pelley (click"comments" below for article).


Blogger Debbie Pelley said...

No School Campuses Closed under Consolidation, ADG & Candidate Claim

Tell That to the Parents & Students in 23 schools whose campuses were closed.

It seems that the media and a certain Representative (a candidate running for state office) are trying to convince the Arkansas citizenry that no forced consolidation except district consolidation ever occurred in Arkansas. In fact this candidate said, "No school was forced to close down buildings because of consolidation." and "No child had to take 3 hour bus rides because of consolidation". The Arkansas Democrat Gazette in a recent editorial on October said about the same thing by bolding the word district consolidation twelve times and by closing with this statement: " It's about consolidating school districts to make education in Arkansas more streamlined and taxpayer friendly. School districts. Can we say that enough?" (See link below for this ADG article)

Now if some readers believe that the Brooklyn Bridge is up for sale or that the Holocaust never took place as some radicals are trying to convince the world, I can see why they might believe this fabrication about no schools being closed. The truth is (ascertained with about two hour's phone calls) that at least 23 schools that have had one or more of their campuses, buildings, closed. Nine of those schools have had all campuses closed and all their students (K-12) are now attending other schools. See the names of schools below. The "school buildings are being shuttered, put up for sale, or used for other school district purposes" according to article in Arkansas Democrat Gazette. Some are being auctioned off I am told. (And yes there are schools that have been consolidated where students are riding the bus three hours or more. That will be discussed in a future e-mail.)

Legislators and consolidation advocates assured consolidation opponents over and over in 2004 that the elementary schools would not be involved or closed. And in the Governor's Education Plan that he presented to the Legislature, Governor Huckabee said that initially the elementary schools would not be affected.

And if the legislators aren't serious about closing campuses and didn't know this was going to happen, then why did they go back in this legislative session and overwhelmingly vote to allow campuses in the isolated districts to be closed? They did this after making all kinds of promises to the opponents of consolidation that these isolated districts would not be closed, saying in Act 60 (b) Any isolated school within a resulting or receiving district shall remain open. In less than a year the legislators, by an overwhelming vote, went back and changed the law. According to a legislator, one of those schools in his district would have to travel 62 miles to the nearest school if consolidated. I testified at a Senate Education Committee that according to my research at least 13 isolated schools could have kids riding 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours a day and at least 9 could have kids riding 3 hours a day if they allowed isolated campuses to be closed.

The Arkansas Democrat Gazette in this same October article was promoting the countywide school district and saying it would not result in school closings because Whitaker's bill was only administrative consolidation. But the law, Act 60 of 2004, l that closed campuses at 23 schools was also called administrative consolidation. In fact, at a legislative committee meeting Senator Argue in presenting his bill kept saying it would not require any schools to close. Tell that to all those parents and children from 23 schools or more who are suffering the consequences.

And how much savings did we get out of consolidation? A recent article claimed, "One hundred school districts involved one way or another in consolidations or annexations in June of 2004 reported their administrative costs decreased by $2.4 million from fiscal 2004 to fiscal 2005." Even if that claim is true (although there are a number of reasons to show this figure false - see forthcoming email) that would amount to a savings of about approximately $5.00 a student in Arkansas. Is $5.00 per student saved really enough to offset children (even pre-schoolers) being bused off even earlier in the morning, some catching the bus at 6:00 in the morning? Senator Laverty said that the only time many of the children in his districts see their home in the daylight during the winter was on the week-end. Is $5.00 per student enough to offset parents and children facing longer, more stressful days having to get up so early to get kids on the bus; parents suffering the anguish of watching their little ones in pre school and kindergarten being bused so far away; disappointment on the part of parents because their older school students who could excel in extracurricular activities are being denied that opportunity because of financial limitations of parents?

It must be hard for these affluent newspaper writers and legislators to understand how limited these family budgets are in many cases and how these parents cannot add more traveling expense and time to transport two and three children to different school events 30 or more miles away and still put food on the table. And now with the exorbitant increases in fuel or car and home, they have been hit even harder.

Hey, but we saved five bucks a student supposedly!! But more importantly, powerful people were able to further their agenda for more government control!! And now the big and powerful want to implement COUNTYWIDE district consolidation. The ADG reported March 24, 1993, . that " One school-consolidation bill at this session was introduced by Representative Jim Argue of Little Rock. Massive in scope, it would provide that each county in Arkansas would have but one school district by July 1, 1995. The Blue Ribbon Commission recommended basically the same thing.

And they want us to believe despite the 23 schools or more where campuses were closed with so called district consolidation that no schools or campuses will be closed under COUNTYWIDE district consolidation! I will believe them when they convince me the Holocaust never took place.!!!!!.

Oh, yes at one time a well known senator sent out an email saying that “We've been given very accurate statistics and no one in Arkansas rides the bus three hours a day." There are at least 36 (36 out of 121 called) riding the bus three hours a day or more. Can't we have a little truth from the media and the legislators. If they are not purposely being deceitful, can't they do some research for themselves rather than pass on propaganda from someone with an agenda? See this link for names of schools with long bus rides:

K-12 Entire school closed and all students attending another school:

Arkansas City







Perry Casa.


JR. High and High School Closed or High School Closed::


Biggers Reno High School

Bright Starr



Cotton Plant

Delta Special

Evening shade.

Fountain Hill High

Holly Grove


Mt. Holly

Sulpha Rock

Winslow§ion=Editorial&storyid=133575 Link to Arkansas Democrat Gazette article on consolidation, It's Just That Simple, October 18k 05 Bus Routes

Debbie Peley

Debbie Pelley
check out this website:

8:52 PM, October 23, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and your point is? Local districts and local control is still there, just a 250 student minimum instead of no minimum. I don't get your gripe.

8:25 PM, October 25, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't have a gripe with the Demo-Gaz publishing misleading articles? I mean that is separate from the issue of whether you think consolidation is OK or not.

Even if you think it is OK to consolidate, it is NOT OK for the Demo-Zette to publish articles that imply no schools are being closed down and no child has 3 hour bus rides when the facts say they are.

10:23 PM, October 25, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to Mulvenon's research, 43.6 percent of grade inflation last year was in schools with fewer than 500 students, 36.4 percent in schools with between 500 and 1000 students and 29 percent in larger schools.

I personally believe something is being baked in the numbers by Mulvenon to advocate more consolidation, but how do we explain this?

12:08 PM, October 26, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why did they make the "largest" classification start at 1,000? They started talking about consolidation at 1,500!

There is no doubt some poor, isolated communities have a low talent pool compared to richer, urban areas. The bar is set lower there. I don't think those same children will achieve more just by being shipped off to a larger school.

9:26 PM, November 02, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plus you left out even higher grade inflation for some large Little Rock schools. It is the community, not the school size, that promotes grade inflation.

9:27 PM, November 02, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Different subject: Arkansas Lottery SCHOLARSHIPS.....can you tell me why older middle income parents with two valvactorian gradutes from a small south Arkansas town cannot get scholarhsips to Arkansas schools?

6:38 PM, August 09, 2010  

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