Arkansas Education

Arkansas Baptist College
Arkansas Business

Arkansas Baptist College is again struggling to organize its finances. Members of the school’s board blame former President Joseph Jones with squandering a budget surplus by not focusing on enrollment and replacing staffers with new employees who were paid higher salaries.

Jones is accused of hiding the deteriorating financial situation from the board until the college was in a crisis. Now officials are working to address an estimated $4 million hole.

Arkansas Business digs into the situation in this week’s issue:

Jeff Sessions Cody Hiland
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions visited Arkansas on Wednesday for a pair of events. Speaking at the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, he called for a fix to a Supreme Court ruling regarding violent offenders. Sessions later joined Gov. Asa Hutchinson and other officials near Hot Springs to discuss school safety.

The results of a new study show that this might not be the best time for a Trojan football team. The University of Arkansas at Little Rock released the football and marching band feasibility study Tuesday and will now begin analyzing the results.

Bill Clinton George W. Bush
Clinton Foundation / Facebook

Former President George W. Bush has expressed concern with the national immigration debate, saying the conversation is ignoring the "valuable contributions" immigrants make to society.

Bush and former President Bill Clinton spoke Thursday to graduating students of the Presidential Leadership Scholars program at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock. During a discussion before the ceremony, Clinton also warned of growing global Chinese leadership.

Bishop Woosley Arkansas Lottery
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery reports that during the budget year that ended June 30, a record $500.4 million in revenue was collected. Nearly $92 million of that will go toward college scholarships, which is the third highest amount since the lottery was created in 2009.

"We broke several records, and we had an excellent year for our proceeds," said Lottery Director Bishop Woosley. He attributed the growth to a number of factors, including large Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots, along with growth in the sales of instant ticket games.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Law enforcement and education officials from around the state are meeting in North Little Rock this week to discuss best practices for improving school security.

The 14th annual Arkansas Safe Schools Conference comes one week after the Arkansas School Safety Commission released its preliminary report on how to thwart and respond to threats of school violence.

Arkansas School Safety Commission
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas School Safety Commission is recommending that each school in the state have an armed presence on campus. That means at least one trained person with a firearm would be available to immediately respond to any act of violence, including an active shooter.

The recommendation was one of 19 included in a preliminary report from the panel, which was created by Gov. Asa Hutchinson after a February school shooting in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 students and staff and wounded 17 others.

University of Arkansas

Shennel Douglas is a nursing student at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. She says she hesitated when deciding to study in the U.S. after watching U.S. police shootings of unarmed civilians on television at home in the Caribbean.

"Coming to UCA, my main concern was being, what should I say, marginalized? Because not only am I an international student, but also I’m a black international student." 

There are now less international students on American college campuses than any time in the last decade.

Bobby Ampezzan / Arkansas Public Media

Several Arkansas legislators joined state Education Commissioner Johnny Key and staff members of the Bureau of Legislative Research Tuesday to begin the discussion on teacher salaries in the state, which goes a long way toward shaping education funding annually.

Historically, members of the Senate and House of Representative education committees make public education funding recommendations to the governor. His proposed budget is shaped by them and subsequently submitted to the entire legislature for debate and consent.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / Arkansas Public Media

A revised set of standards for accrediting Arkansas public schools is scheduled to be considered Tuesday afternoon by the Administrative Rules and Regulations Subcommittee of the Arkansas Legislative Council. 

The changes were unanimously approved May 30 by the Arkansas Board of Education, despite concerns from some like board Chairman Jay Barth who worry the new rules could be too much of a departure from a uniform set of standards.

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