Seven Little Rock City
Director Kathy Webb announced the letter at yesterday’s City Board agenda session and invited all to sign. Dean Kumpuris, Gene Fortson, Ken Richardson, Doris Wright, B.J. Wyrick, Capi Peck
The letter questions the value of vouchers, based on experience elsewhere, and notes the ongoing struggles in the Little Rock School District. The city of Little Rock includes all of the Little Rock district and a portion of the Pulaski County Special School District, plus many charter school districts that receive tax money. The voucher bill, the letter said, will further destabilize the public schools without a public benefit.
I asked Mayor Scott by Twitter if he supported the voucher bill. He hasn’t responded yet. Sen. Joyce Elliott, an opponent of the bill, told me in a Twitter message that she understands he plans a separate statement. He has expressed support for charter schools in the past. And he didn’t join in the appearance by several local officials asking the state Board of Education for
I noted last night a warm comment about Scott by Laurie Lee, a political consultant
So thankful for leaders like Mayor @FrankScottJr who understand the importance of #SchoolChoice and the opportunities for our children to succeed. Your supporters on both sides of the isle appreciate your dedication #arleg #arpx #ared #ourLRSD #SB620
— Laurie Lee❤️ ??⚓️??️♀️? (@LaurieLee0966) March 27, 2019
The City Board members’ letter to Hutchinson and legislators:
They got thanks from Elliott.
— Joyce Elliott (@xjelliott) March 27, 2019
Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families also issued a statement opposing the voucher bill. It said, in part:
Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families opposes SB620, a bill to create a pilot K-12 education voucher program in Pulaski County. AACF believes that every child deserves a high-quality education. We also believe that efforts to improve educational outcomes should be evidence-based and have a proven track record of success. Education voucher programs like SB620 fail on both criteria.
…The bill would spend $3.5 million a year in taxpayer funds to send 500 students to private schools. The remaining 51,000 students attending the four traditional public schools in Pulaski County would be shortchanged by this bill in three ways. First, they would be denied the extra investment from the Governor’s discretionary funds afforded these 500 students. Second, three of the four school districts would lose state funding for any of their students who opt for the voucher program. When the Little Rock School District returns to local control, it, too, would lose state funding per pupil transferring to a private school under the program. Finally, the remaining students would be ineligible to compete for the college scholarships offered for students who graduate under the voucher program, regardless of their academic standing or financial need.
There’s much more wrong. If, as Republicans contend, an “open education system” is best in Pulaski County why isn’t it optimal everywhere? There
UPDATE: More criticism here from Citizens First Congress. Lots of details, but they say, in short, that vouchers don’t work, they divert resources from other needs, the private schools are accountable, the legislation harms public schools.