On June 20, 2011 the Arkansas Department of Education removed the Pulaski County School Board of Education and Superintendent, Dr. Charles L. Hopson, and took control of the District. Dr. Tom Kimbrell, Commissioner, Arkansas Department of Education, will serve as the PCSSD Board of Director. Former Superintendent Bobby Lester and Phyllis Stewart, ADE, were appointed as liaisons for the District by the Department of Education. Dr. Jerry D. Guess was selected as the Superintendent of the Pulaski County Special School District, effective July 1, 2011. The following summary of PCSSD Operations were recommended by Superintendent Guess and approved by Dr. Kimbrell.
- Elementary Racial/Gender Composition Report – Learning Services.
- Secondary Racial/Gender Composition Report – Learning Services.
- 2001-2010 Desegregation Monitoring Report/2011-2012 Monitoring Plan – Special Education.
- Counseling Services Report – Learning Services
- Revision of Board Policy JER, Student Attendance – First Reading.
- Revision of Board Policy KFB/KFC, KFB/KFC-R, KFC, KFB/KFC-E, Community Use of School Facilities – First Reading.
- Revision of Board Policy KHA/KHB, Public Solicitation/Advertising in the Schools and Distribution of Materials – First Reading.
- Naming of Maumelle High School Football Field - Tabled.
- Districtwide Beverage Contract for Activities and Vending. This contract agreement is between Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Inc. d/b/a The Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Arkansas, a Delaware corporation (Beverage Provider) and the Pulaski County Special School District, having its principal place of business at 925 East Dixon Road, Little Rock, AR. The rationale is that the single source provider and centralized control will provide greater buying power and will return more money to district accounts. Approved.
- Administrator’s Professional Development Plan. In order for PCSSD Administrators to make strides in Instructional Leadership, Communications and Interpersonal Skills, it is necessary to map a plan to achieve these goals. Approved.
- ACSIP Plans for schools, the PCSSD District ACSIP, ant the ACSIP Statement of Assurance. Approved.
- Annual Plan to the Public; Media Report Fall 2011. Approved.
- 2011-2012 Budget. A.C.A 6-17-914 requires school districts to prepare and file a board adopted annual budget. Approved.
- Appointing of Interim Disbursing Agent. The resignation of Anita Farver as chief financial officer in the PCSSD created the necessity to appoint an interim disbursing agent. Authorization was given to appoint Donna Garrett as interim disbursing agent which will expire upon the employment of William Goff as the District’s chief financial officer. Approved.
- Summary of Districts Operations for September 2011: Approved.
- Personnel: Approved.
- Approval of bills for payment: Approved.
- Approval of financials: Approved.
- Approval of Fiscal Distress Reporting Requirements: Approved.
On Tuesday, October, 2011, beginning at 6:15 p.m. in the Pulaski County Special School District boardroom at 925 East Dixon Road, Little Rock, Arkansas. a three-member panel consisting of Danny Knight, Chair, Mary McClendon and Ken Turner conducted hearings for two students at the request of the student’s parents/guardians to appeal the hearing officer’s recommendation.
A ninth grade female student at Sylvan Hills High School was recommended for expulsion for the remainder of the 2011-2012 school year. The student was charged with Rule 404, assault/battery on staff. The student did not appear for her hearing. Present at the hearing were: Judy Wilber, General Counsel; Dr. Jerry Guess, Superintendent; Dr. Brenda Bowles, Assistant Superintendent for Equity and Pupil Service; and Gary McCasland, Assistant Principal, Sylvan Hills High School. A unanimous decision by the committee will recommend to Dr. Kimbrell to uphold the recommendation.
A ninth grade student at Jacksonville High Scholl was recommended for expulsion for the remainder of the 2011-12 school year. The student was charged with possession/use of firearm, weapon or facsimile weapon. The hearing began at 6:30 p.m. Present at the hearing were: Judy Wilber, General Counsel; Dr. Jerry Guess, Superintendent; Dr. Brenda Bowles, Assistant Superintendent for Equity and Pupil Service; Henry Anderson, Principal, Jacksonville High School, the student and parent. After reviewing and considering the evidence, the hearing panel rejected the administration’s recommendation for the expulsion of the student for the remainder of the 2011-2012 school year.
In lieu of expulsion, the panel provided the following modification:
- The student is placed on probation with an open-ended assignment for the remainder of the 2011-2012 school year to the Pulaski County Special School District’s Learning Academy until directed otherwise by the Superintendent and the Division of Equity and Pupil Services;
- The student is to attend counseling to be arranged and paid for by his parents, and documentation of counseling services is to be provided to the Division of Equity and Pupil Services. (If parents need assistance, the District can coordinate services with an approved mental health provider.)
- The weapons will remain in the possession of the Pulaski County School District until released by the Superintendent;
- The student will continue in the R.O.T.C. program at Mills;
- This modification, and details regarding placement, will be implemented under the direction of the Superintendent and the Division of Equity and Pupil Services.
As Commissioner of Education, acting in the stead of a school board, Dr. Tom Kimbrell sustained the panel’s findings.