Friday, April 14, 2006

Rural Schools Fight Back

Press release from some of the "Heros of Paron High".

Contact Information:
Ron Crawford
501.851.1700


The Paron Educational Preservation Alliance is announcing today the change of the organization’s name to The Rural Education Preservation Alliance as well as its intention to organize statewide support for legislation that would protect rural school districts in Arkansas. The Alliance is working to prevent what may happen to the Paron campus (grades 6-12), if its final appeal is denied by the State Board of Education, from happening in other rural school districts across the state.

“Paron did everything right. It was successful academically. It was sound financially, and it had voluntarily restructured under the Bryant Public School District. Yet, bureaucrats and politicians with a close down first attitude may be successful in shutting it down,” said Ron Crawford, organizer and spokesperson of the Alliance. “There are forces at work in Arkansas that are bent on closing down a lot of rural schools. We see what is happening in Paron as the tip of the iceberg. No rural school in Arkansas is safe.”

(for rest of article click "Friday" below and scroll down, or if sent directly here just scroll down.)

9 Comments:

Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Crawford went on to elaborate that the Alliance’s effort to organize support would focus on potential legislative remedies to come out of the 2007 Legislative Session.

“We recognize that some schools should be consolidated if they are failing either academically or financially. But it has become clear from this last special session of the legislature that a small band of insiders are intent on closing schools in our state regardless of their merit,” Crawford explained. “The very people who should be helping us are the ones fighting us. From the Attorney General, to bureaucrats, to even some members of the Legislature, they all are conspiring to centralize their power at the expense of our rural communities.”

Crawford reiterated the reality that some schools in Arkansas should indeed be consolidated but pointed to the legislative backroom dealings that ended an effort to protect successful rural schools in the most recent Special Session of the Arkansas Legislature.

“A bill that received over eighty votes on the floor of the House but couldn’t even get a fair hearing in the Senate Committee was railroaded into failure by these very insiders that seem to place no value whatsoever on our rural heritage,” said Crawford. “When I read about how some insiders believe that rural Arkansans should shut up and put their kids on busses and stop complaining, it really does drive home the point that our rural heritage is under attack.”

Crawford was referring to a recent Arkansas Times column in which columnist Bob McCord wrote…a bill that would have led to the reopening of the pitiful little high schools in rural areas that Arkansas has finally had the nerve to close in this century. Husbands and wives who live in the woods need to think about having kids, moving to town, or driving or bussing their kids…

Crawford anticipates reaching out to rural community leaders, rural educators, and individual legislators to seek both remedies and support to protect successful rural school districts.

Crawford also released to the media a letter he authored to Attorney General Mike Beebe, asking Beebe to reconsider his opposition to successful rural schools. Also released was a legal analysis of the House Bill that the Alliance supported in the last legislative session. The analysis was provided by the Alliance’s attorney, Mr. Chris Heller of the Friday, Eldredge, and Clark Law Firm. Mr. Heller is considered one of Arkansas’ leading experts on school funding.

8:22 PM, April 14, 2006  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Holt voted agaist every one of the school consolidation bills- At a time it was not popular to do so. Now all of a sudden some of the others are starting to see what Holt saw coming from a long way off.

Jim Holt has a record that is well positioned to help clean the Dems clock on this one with all those rural swing voters.

8:22 PM, April 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you have a copy of the letter Ron Crawford sent with his lawyer? Please post.

4:44 AM, April 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the "Hutchinson Issue of the Week" over at the arkfam blog. Asa's camp should now realize that Jim Holt's position on consolidation is a winner, and that a Hutchinson-Holt team in November will bring home a victory against Beebe and the consolidators.

11:58 AM, April 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

STOP BUSSING NOW!!! No more tax dollars for school buses, drivers, gasoline, or maintanence. Stop the waste of bussing, and there would be plenty of money for teachers and supplies. Jim and Asa should call for an end to the taxpayer subsidies for transportation. This is not mandated by the constitution. It is a liberal scheme to pick our pockets.

12:14 PM, April 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holt was the ONLY Senator to vote against Act 1397. That was the one where the ledge, after giving their word that isolated schools would not be subject to shut downs, made them subject to shut downs (for failing to offer a course that none of their students wants to take!).

2:41 PM, April 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In 500 years, pure energy will be observable under a very sophisticated microscope. When viewed, you will be able to see millions of Jim Holts spinning nonstop at an incredible rate. When this happens, Jim will emerge from his grave after a long sleep, stretch his arms and casually say, "I cannot be created or destroyed."

12:54 PM, April 18, 2006  
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