The Clinton Elementary Magent School PTA in Sherwood has called an emergency meeting for today at 6 p.m. to discuss the potential change in curriculum for the upcoming school year.
According to Meredith Poland and Tina Lee, representatives of the Clinton Magnet PTA, said parents need to be informed of proposed changes.
“It is PTA’s hope that we can provide enough opposition to the District that they will change their plan, and allow CEMS to continue to keep their technology and speech/communication programs,” said Poland and Lee in a joint statement.
The PTA representatives added that The CEMS PTA feels that these programs are vital to the children’s overall educational environment, providing skills necessary to succeed in the future.
“CEMS PTA feels it is very important to mobilize parents to write letters, make phone calls, etc… as quickly as possible, as it looks like the District is attempting to push these cuts through quietly, and quickly to avoid opposition,” they said.
In January, a federal judge gave final approval to a legal settlement that would allow the state to phase out payments of millions of dollars to three school districts to fund desegregation efforts, bringing to a close a court battle that has lasted over three decades. The settlement and deal made with the three school districts (Pulaski County Special School District, North Little Rock School District and Little Rock School district) would allow the state to continue to make annual $65.8 million payments through the 2017-2018 school year.
“Clinton Elementary Magnet School (CEMS) parents have learned that while the District will continue to receive funding through 2018, they plan to cut specific programs from the school curriculum starting the next school year,” they said. “While CEMS was not part of the six original magnet schools that were created in response to the first desegregation settlement that occurred in the mid-1980’s, there has been discussion on whether or not CEMS is a “true magnet” school, or more of a neighborhood type school.”
They added that parents have learned, through contacts with the District, that there is a proposal on the table with the Community Advisory Board to cut the Technology and Speech/Communication programs at CEMS starting next school year. The PTA has also learned that “Magnet” status of Chenal and Baker Elementary schools will remain the same, seeing no change in their curriculum at all.
“Arkansas Code Annotated section 6-20-1910 requires that the State Board of Education determine by April 1 whether to recommend that the advisory board remain in place for another year or whether to return the district to local control,” they added.