Arkansas Education

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.

University of Central Arkansas.
www.uca.edu

An Arkansas Senate committee has advanced legislation that would allow people 25 and older to carry a concealed handgun on a college campus if they undergo certain training.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday endorsed and sent to the full Senate the revised bill that requires colleges and universities to allow concealed handguns on campus.

Arkansas Department of Education Building in Little Rock near the state Capitol building.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

A bill to open-up membership in the public charter school authorizing panel to anyone in the public – without requirement – sailed through the Arkansas Senate on Monday. Currently the panel that makes recommendations on whether charter schools should open, close, or expand is made up of Department of Education employees.

Senate Majority Leader Jim Hendren said establishing criteria for holding the posts is a burden on the state.

A partnership between Arkansas’ two major universities will allow students to get a dual degree in poultry sciences.   

Arkansas leads the nation in poultry production.  With Tyson Foods in northwest Arkansas and Ozark Mountain Poultry and Peco Foods in eastern Arkansas, more graduates are needed in the field of poultry science. 

Charlie Collins
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

Another concern is being raised about legislation that would require public universities and colleges in Arkansas to allow licensed faculty and staff to carry concealed handguns on campus.

John Pijanowski, chair of the campus faculty senate at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, believes the campus carry bill could be in conflict with existing laws regarding guns in churches.

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

State Education Commissioner Johnny Key has approved Little Rock School District Superintendent Michael Poore’s proposal to close three schools and repurpose a fourth. A group of community activists and parents, meanwhile, is condemning the decision.  

The plan calls for the closure of Franklin Elementary, Wilson Elementary and the Woodruff Early Childhood Center. Under the plan, the alternative school Hamilton Learning Academy would move to the Wilson campus.

State Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R-Branch) after his primary move-up bill failed to advance out of committee.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The public would have less access to information about public schools and colleges under a bill passed by the Arkansas Senate. State Senator Gary Stubblefield, a Republican from Branch in northwest Arkansas, presented his bill on Thursday. He said exempting security information from the Freedom of Information Act is a necessary safeguard in dangerous times.

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