Arkansas Business

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Walton Family Foundation says it will be reviewing funding request from charter schools in Arkansas following the announcement of a billion dollar gift to be spent in about 22 states over five years.

Marc Sternberg, head of education policy at the foundation, said the strength of school leadership will weigh heavily in picking schools to fund in 2016.

"We'll be overwhelming focused on growing the charter sector," he said, "because that's where the opportunity is to increase high-quality, autonomous schools of choice." 

A foundation run by the heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton plans to spend $1 billion on public schools over the next five years.

The Walton Family Foundation planned to notify patrons Thursday that it hopes to establish new charter schools and help programs already in place. The money will be spent in about two dozen states where it has already aided programs.

Charter schools are privately run but receive public funding. Many are dedicated to the arts or to science and technology.

A year-ending survey of business contacts indicated that nearly half expect economic conditions in 2016 will be somewhat better than in 2015 as employment growth continue to strengthen across the state, according to the Federal Reserve’s “Burgundy Book.”

The report provides statistical and anecdotal notes on 62 of the state’s 75 counties. The Little Rock Zone covers six state metro areas, including Little Rock/North Little Rock/Conway, Pine Bluff, Hot Springs, Texarkana, Fort Smith and Fayetteville/Springdale/Rogers.

Tales From The South

North Little Rock-based Bourbon & Boots, the online retailer featuring Southern artisan merchandise, has entered into an agreement to purchase Tales From The South, a radio show and media company featuring Southern storytelling. Terms of the private transaction were not disclosed.

J.B. Hunt To Add More Than 1,000 Corporate Jobs In Northwest Arkansas

Dec 10, 2015
Johnelle Hunt J.B. Hunt
Talk Business & Politics

Lowell-based J.B. Hunt Transport Services announced Wednesday a corporate expansion plan that will add more than 1,000 jobs in Northwest Arkansas in the next six years.

Main Street Little Rock creative corridor
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

The Little Rock Technology Park Authority on Wednesday unveiled the architectural plans for the first phase of the much-discussed multimillion dollar downtown development that has been in the works now for eight years.

Mike Preston
Talk Business & Politics

Fresh off his 8-day trip to Japan and China, AEDC executive director Mike Preston said the announcement of a $1.36 billion agreement with Sun Paper Co. will not likely result in the need for a legislative “superproject” special session.

“I think we have a very aggressive incentive package on the table,” Preston said. “There’s still some negotiations to go, but I don’t think we’ll have to go to the legislature.”

The Little Rock Technology Park Authority agreed on Tuesday to make a $1,037,000 counter offer to attorney Richard Mays to purchase his firm’s downtown office Tuesday, opening the door for the publicly-financed authority to move forward with the first phase of a tech park to boost entrepreneurship.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) has signed a “letter of intent on investment cooperation” with Chinese-based Shandong Sun Paper Industry Joint Stock Co. to pursue a $1.3 billion pulp mill to be located in south Arkansas.

In attendance at the signing ceremony were U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Gov. Hutchinson, Chairman and Founder of Sun Paper Co. Hongxin Li, Arkansas Economic Development Director Mike Preston, and U.S. Consulate General Charles Bennett.

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

Governor Asa Hutchinson is calling on two northeast Arkansas community education centers to merge. The Governor spoke Thursday at the state Chamber of Commerce's 87th annual meeting. Hutchinson says two education centers in Forrest City—East Arkansas Community College and Crowley's Ridge Technical Insitute—would serve students better if the two centers became one.

 

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