Arkansas Education

Little Rock School District Superintendent Mike Poore (file photo).
Chris Hickey / KUAR News

Voters in Arkansas's largest school district will get to decide Tuesday on a proposal to extend 12.4 mills of property tax for 14 years beyond the current expiration date in the year 2033. The issue has divided Little Rock's leaders. On one side: those who say the resulting $160 million in refinanced bond money would help bring the LRSD's facilities up to date.

The Little Rock Board of Directors voted 7-1 Tuesday night in favor of a resolution to support extending a 12.4 mill tax to fund Little Rock schools. An election on the millage extension will be held on May 9.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has vetoed a bill that appropriated $850,000 for school districts to pay for panic button alert systems.

Panic button systems are used during emergencies, such as an active shooter situation.

Hutchinson announced his veto Friday, saying it should be up to local school districts to decide whether to pay for the alert systems.

The governor's letter noted that the panic button system was originally presented to lawmakers as a pilot project that school districts would eventually fund.

Governor's Office / YouTube

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has signed into law a high profile bill that greatly expands where concealed carry license holders can bring handguns.

The Republican governor made his announcement flanked by several GOP lawmakers and an executive with the National Rifle Association, all of whom helped shape the new law. Hutchinson said the final legislation wasn’t perfect but the group around him balanced the need for safety and Second Amendment rights.

State Rep. Jim Dotson (R-Bentonville).
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

A scaled back education bill to create a voucher-like program – which channels public dollars to private schools through individual education savings accounts- is headed to the Arkansas House floor. On Tuesday a legislative committee approved the amended bill, which was sent back down from the full chamber earlier in the week.

Instead of a permanent system it’ll be a four-year pilot program. The amended bill also pares back the state’s investment from $6.5-million in tax credits a year, to $3-million.

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

An expanded bill allowing people to carry concealed firearms on public university campuses and other locations narrowly passed out of the Arkansas Senate Thursday. Passage came after senators voted to extract the bill from the chamber’s Judiciary Committee, where it had stalled. 

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

Proposals allowing people to bring concealed handguns onto Arkansas public colleges and universities continue to be stalled in the Arkansas Senate.

Little Rock School District Superintendent Mike Poore (file photo).
Chris Hickey / KUAR News

An effort to give private charter school companies priority on buying “under utilized” public school buildings is advancing through the Arkansas Legislature this week. KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman talked about the potential impact with the Superintendent of the Little Rock School District Mike Poore and whether it makes him think twice about a school closure plan.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson is endorsing a proposal to end the dual recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert E. Lee on the same day each year.

He took to the lectern Wednesday to say that, as Americans celebrate the slain Civil Rights icon, residents of the state are presented with a choice.

“That choice that is there, it divides us as Arkansans and as a nation,” Hutchinson said.

Arkansas State University has suspended all fraternity and sorority social events until April 1 after a student was accused of raping a woman at a fraternity party.

The letter was sent out Tuesday by the university's Greek Life officials. The suspension includes "all registered social events, drop-ins, formals, semi-formals, date nights" or any other social events.

The university says it will host mandatory "risk-reduction" training sessions in March for fraternity and sorority members.

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