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Arkansas Times arktimes.com 26 Jan, 2023 01:00 am

New bills filed in the last week offer both good news and bad news for champions of traditional public schools

New bills filed in the last week offer both good news and bad news for champions of traditional public schools

No new definition of what these co-ops might be would be added under the bill as currently filed: Public school districts in the State of Arkansas are empowered to voluntarily agree to share programs, personnel, materials, and equipment for the purpose of enlarging curriculum or services or providing new services to students in their respective school districts.The educational cooperatives are empowered to receive state, local, and federal funds that have been assigned to the educational cooperatives by the member school districts and are also empowered to spend 13 those funds on behalf of the school districts assigning those funds.Public school advocates seem to really hate this one, noting that the local control and independence of member school districts will be erased as political appointees displace school board appointees.HB1192 would put these co-ops under the control of political appointees chosen by the governor, House speaker and Senate president pro tempore.

The current boards are superintendents from member districts, so it seems the goal is to replace them with political appointees.Some rural Arkansas Republicans aren’t ready to hand over public money to lightly regulated, unaccountable private and church schools.

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