Arkansas Education

Governor's Radio Column: Higher Ed Funding

Aug 20, 2016
Governor Asa Hutchinson radio address
Office of the Governor

The following is a transcript of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's radio column for the weekend of Aug. 19, 2016:

As another school year begins, many recent high school graduates are gearing up for their first semester of college. It’s an exciting time for our students as they explore their academic passions and lay the foundations for a promising career path.

A federal appeals court Thursday issued a ruling affecting how an Arkansas school choice law affects districts under desegregation orders.

In its opinion, the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an earlier federal district court ruling which said the Arkansas Public School Choice Act of 2013 does not trump the requirements of a 1992 Garland County school desegregation settlement.

Arkansas Department of Education /

School bells are ringing and buses are rolling at the start of this new school year for public schools in Arkansas.

Despite the lack of a brick and mortar building, hundreds of families across the state who’ve chosen to home school their children are also marking the beginning of school.

classroom desks

After more than a year of work, an Arkansas legislative task force is preparing to release a report with recommendations on how the state can better meet the needs of special education students.

The Task Force on Best Practices for Special Education met for the last time Wednesday. It consists of a couple dozen educators, advocates and legislators. 

Sen. Uvalde Lindsey (D-Fayetteville) is the chair of the task force. He says the report will call for better communication among the various groups and interests that serve special needs kids.

Blowing Cave

Arkansas State University says three students, including two from Japan, are missing in a cave in northern Arkansas.

A university statement says the wife of 25-year-old student Casey Sherwood reported him missing Wednesday night, along with Japanese exchange students, 19-year-old Daiki Itoh and 18-year-old Daisuke Takagi.

Independence County Office of Emergency Management coordinator Glen Willis told KAIT-TV that two crews are searching for the students in Blowing Cave in Cushman, 110 miles north of Little Rock. Cave-mapping experts are assisting.

Lucinda Schreiber for NPR

Arkansas state Sen. Joyce Elliot (D-Little Rock) spoke before a national group of state legislators Tuesday on how to improve education in the United States.

The National Council of State Legislators conducted a study entitled, No Time to Lose: How to Build a World Class Education System State by State, which found that education in the U.S. lags behind at least 30 other countries worldwide. 

Speaking in Chicago, Elliot said policies in those countries are data driven and less subject to political whim.

Jacksonville High School

The Jacksonville North Pulaski School District is getting ready to open its doors to students for the first time.

In September 2014 nearly 95 percent of voters in the Jacksonville area supported creating their own district by detaching from the larger Pulaski County Special School District. It has taken nearly two years to staff the district and make preparations, such as planning bus routes and student schedules.

Arkansas State University officials say the school still plans to open its Mexico campus in 2017 despite the resignation of its former chancellor, who was overseeing the project.

The Jonesboro Sun reports that work on the campus in Queretaro, Mexico, won't be delayed after Tim Hudson resigned last week.

Hudson resigned after an audit report criticized the school's study abroad program that was run by his wife, who resigned last month.

Tim Hudson
Arkansas State University

A second audit report concerning former Arkansas State University Chancellor Tim Hudson says Hudson may have violated state law in his efforts to get tuition assistance for an unidentified family member.

The audit released Thursday said the law prohibits a public servant from using his official position to gain special privileges for himself, family members or anyone with whom the official has a "substantial financial relationship."

Hudson resigned Tuesday after the first audit report criticized ASU's study abroad program that was run by his wife.

Tim Hudson
Arkansas State University

Arkansas State University Chancellor Tim Hudson has abruptly resigned three weeks before the start of the fall semester. It comes days after details of an internal audit were published, finding problems with the school's study abroad program which was headed by Hudson's wife.

The university did not cite a reason for the resignation, but an ASU official says it followed a meeting Tuesday evening between Hudson and ASU System President Charles Welch.

In an email sent at 9:56 p.m. Tuesday, Hudson wrote simply: