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Public forums set for district changes

Greg Rayburn The North Little Rock School District has scheduled some public forums during the month of April to get input from the district residents about some proposed changes to its original Capital Improvement Plan approved by the NLR Board of Education in 2011.Buy Photo
Greg Rayburn The North Little Rock School District has scheduled some public forums during the month of April to get input from the district residents about some proposed changes to its original Capital Improvement Plan approved by the NLR Board of Education in 2011.

The North Little Rock School District is considering some changes in its original Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) approved by the NLR Board of Education in May 2011.

The District is looking at moving preschool students currently attending Redwood Early Childhood Center to Glenview Elementary and Seventh Street Elementary Schools beginning with the 2015-2016 school year.

In addition, Pike View Elementary could be available to be re-purposed for District or community use, according to NLRSD spokeswoman Shara Brazear.

“Elementary schools throughout the district would continue to serve preschool students,” Brazear said.

Some schools undergoing renovation in Phase II might increase the number of preschool students they will serve in order to fill the schools closer to capacity.

The community is welcome to share thoughts and suggestions with the North Little Rock Leadership Team and Board of Education through one of the Community Forums, she said.

In order to meet the needs of all elementary students, preschool to fifth grade in North Little Rock, the District is considering new elementary boundaries and some preschool modifications to the CIP and would like to share information with the public and also hear comments at four upcoming Community Forums scheduled in April.

The Community Forums are as follows:

April 8: Lakewood Middle School auditorium, 6-8 p.m.

April 9: First Assembly of God sanctuary, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

April 10: First Baptist Church/Main Street sanctuary, 6-8 p.m.

April 10: First Baptist Church/Scipio Jones sanctuary, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

As a part of the Capital Improvement Plan the District will reduce the number of elementary schools from 13 to nine. In reducing the number of elementary schools, the attendance boundaries for all elementary schools in the District must be redrawn.

A Demography Committee has been formed in the NLR School District comprised of patrons, principals, parents and business leaders and charged with redrawing the boundaries this spring.

The boundary changes will not be effective until the 2015-2016 school year, she said.

The CIP was comprised and approved after numerous community meetings were held in late 2010 and early 2011 throughout the community where parents, patrons, students and school leaders considered data from RSP, a demographer and DLR, the consultant hired by the NLR Board of Education.

In developing the CIP plan during the 2010-2011 school year, participants of the community meetings also considered the needs of all NLR students and expectations from the business community as well as the forecasted enrollment projections by RSP based on current enrollment.

Keeping the original CIP within budget requires the NLR School District to continually evaluate current enrollment numbers and also projected enrollment as well as consider the educational needs of all students. Re-evaluation in school attendance and growth based on the Desegregation Settlement Agreement approved in January limits Legal Transfers from Pulaski County Special School District for five years and therefore has altered the District’s original enrollment projects during the millage campaign, Brazear said.

“The District is now beginning Phase II of the CIP which includes closing Redwood Early Childhood Center which serves approximately 250 preschool students and relocating these preschool students to Pike View Elementary School,” Brazear said. “As a part of the CIP, North Little Rock pre-k students will continue to be served in classrooms located in many elementary schools across the District. However, the state did not fund the portion of the CIP to remodel Pike View Elementary School for preschool students as State Facility Funds cannot be used for preschool. The District believes a preschool education is a vital component and a necessary foundation to the success of a child’s education.”

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