Arkansas Education

Superintendent Baker Kurrus sitting at his new desk in the LRSD administration building.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Newly appointed Little Rock School District Superintendent Baker Kurrus gave a report to the State Board of Education Thursday on his assessment of problems in the district. 

Kurrus said poor communication, budget issues, and a lack of respect between employees had led to a dysfunctional culture in the district.

Charles Zook, son of Arkansas Chamber of Commerce CEO, opposing chamber's role in LRSD state takeover.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

A smattering of protestors lined the plaza of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce Wednesday at noon to denounce its support of the state takeover of Little Rock schools. Charles Zook said his family embodies what he characterizes as a suspect network of influence in the state’s 5-4 decision in late January to dissolve the locally elected school board.

A Pulaski County Special School District Bus parked off of Highway 365.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

UPDATE: The first proposed millage increase in over 20 years was rejected by a wide margin. 75 percent of ballots cast were in opposition to increasing the property tax to finance a facilities overhaul.

9,568 votes were cast, amounting to 13.3 percent voter turnout. Only four of the 60 precincts in the PCSSD voted in favor of the millage tax. One precinct had an equal number supporting as opposing.

rex horn

The president of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia has been named the new president of Arkansas' Independent Colleges & Universities.

Rex Horne was named the organization's leader on Tuesday by AICU executive committee chairman Don Weatherman. Horne will replace Rex Nelson, who has accepted a position as director of corporate communications for Simmons First National Corp.

AICU represents the state's 11 accredited private institutions of higher education. The organization specializes in governmental affairs and public affairs for private higher education.

National Association for Education of Young Children

It's been more than 45 years since Arkansas changed minimum standards for child care facilities. That's left the state falling far behind the rest of the country and often criticized by national education groups.

UALR Announces $20.3 Million Grant For Arts Building

May 11, 2015

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock will build a 71,636-square-foot visual arts and applied design building thanks to a $20.6 million donation Monday from the Siloam Springs-based Windgate Charitable Foundation, the university announced today.

The grant for construction and equipment is the second largest in the university’s history. The university’s chancellor, Dr. Joel Anderson, said the gift is “transformational” for both the UALR Department of Art and the institution.

Former school board member Charlie McAdoo speaking to about 75 people assembled in church in southwest Little Rock opposed to the state's role in the district.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The first 90-plus days of the Arkansas Department of Education’s role as the operator and arbiter of the state’s largest school district – the Little Rock School District – has not engendered a sense of confidence among all. 

Baker Kurris speaking at a meeting of the Arkansas Board of Education several weeks before being appointed Superintendent.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The new superintendent of the Little Rock School District has only been in office for a couple of days but he may already be striking a different chord with at least a few of those critical of the state-run district's first steps to lift six of the district's 40-plus schools out of academic distress. 

Newly-appointed Superintendent Baker Kurrus said during an interview Thursday he is making inclusion in the decision-making process an early priority.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

Arkansas Education Commissioner Johnny Key appointed attorney and former Little Rock School Board member Baker Kurrus as superintendent of the Little Rock School District Tuesday.

Kurrus, who replaces Interim Superintendent Marvin Burton, will lead the district for a salary of $150,000. Former Superintendent Suggs made over $200,000.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson signing a workforce development bill.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson will travel to high schools across the state to encourage students to enroll in computer science courses. Hutchinson's office announced Tuesday that the governor will travel to at least 10 high schools this month and that more locations will be announced later.

Each of the selected schools has been asked to perform an hour of coding with the student body before the visit.

The Republican vowed to expand the offerings during his campaign last year and says it will make Arkansas more competitive and improve the workforce.