Arkansas Education

Six days after six members of the University of Arkansas women’s basketball team knelt in protest during the national anthem, college officials on Wednesday announced “Project Unify,” a “community engagement program” designed to address concerns that fueled the protest.

The move, which will see the players no longer kneel during the anthem, could also quell backlash against the team and the university that included one Arkansas senator threatening to put a hold on the university’s budget.

Chris Hickey / KUAR News.

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the Pulaski County Special School District signed a memorandum of understanding Friday to offer the district’s high school students college credit classes. UALR Chancellor Andrew Rogerson and PCSSD Superintendent Jerry Guess signed the agreement.

Little Rock School District

Little Rock School Superintendent Mike Poore on Thursday outlined initial plans for at least an additional 10 million dollars in budget cuts in the next fiscal year with loss of 37 million dollars in state desegregation aid. 

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

Legislators Monday missed a deadline to agree on a plan for education funding increases known as "adequacy."

A 22 year-old Arkansas Supreme Court decision, commonly referred to as "Lake View," requires lawmakers to fund education adequately before other appropriations are taken up. But lawmakers in the education committee were unable to agree about how much of a funding boost to give to schools.

Governor Asa Hutchinson Higher education
Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Monday proposed keeping higher education funding flat next fiscal year but vowed to back a $10 million increase in 2018 if lawmakers support a plan to tie money for colleges and universities to factors such as degree completion.

UALR sign
Chris Hickey / KUAR News

Top administrators at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock say the campus is due for “across the board” budget cuts of two percent for the remainder of the 2016-17 school year. 

In an email sent to faculty and staff late Wednesday, Chancellor Andrew Rogerson and Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Steve McClellan said the cuts were necessary to cover “necessary expenses.” They noted that UALR has incurred a drop in revenue this year due to a decline in enrollment. The email did not indicate what the latest enrollment figures were.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / Arkansas Public Media

Marvell-Elaine schools bus driver Larry Greer’s route twists through the Arkansas Delta, between the White and Mississippi Rivers. “All together I go from Elaine to Snow Lake, 65 miles round trip,” he said, while elementary school kids filed onto his bus for the afternoon ride home.

These are country bus stops along country roads. The way is long. In the morning, Greer says, he will wait only so long at an empty stop before he snaps his levered doors closed again. “If they don’t come out, they’re not going that day.”

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock's law school has received a $1 million grant to create the state's first business innovation clinic. 

The grant from the Arkansas Attorney General's Office was announced Friday for UALR's William H. Bowen School of Law. The new clinic will focus on providing business law advice and services to small businesses, nonprofit organizations and others. 

The University of Arkansas has announced the start of a fundraising campaign that officials hope will raise $1 billion.

The university said in a news release that the money raised by Campaign Arkansas would be used to support academics, including scholarships and fellowships, endowed chairs, interdisciplinary academic programs and capital projects that include renovation of existing facilities.

UA Chancellor Joe Steinmetz said that without increases in state funding, private fundraising is needed to support the programs and projects.

Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Director Bishop Woosley
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Revenue from the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery was up $3.8 million in August compared to the same month last year, totaling $35 million.

This month lottery officials are celebrating the 7th anniversary of its creation, which was authorized by Arkansas voters in 2008. Lottery Director Bishop Woosley spoke with KUAR about how the lottery is doing.

MICHAEL HIBBLEN: First, what's your reaction to this latest revenue report?