Discover more from Arkansas Newsroom
Charter sets course
A Boss Hog sighting in Maumelle, Voters support improvements to Pulaski County Special School District, New legislative seats on horizon for Maumelle, North Little Rock plus news and sports headlines
Welcome to Arkansas Newsroom, a bundled newsletter covering news and sports in central Arkansas. For some answers to frequently asked questions, click here.
Subscribe to the site by clicking the button below …
Note to subscribers: An annual or monthly subscription is billed to your debit or credit card as ARKANSAS.SUBSTACK.COM and if you have questions, please email email@example.com. Thanks for reading and subscribing!
SBA awards Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center $2.5 million for program
The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock received a $2.5 million grant this week to engage in targeted outreach to small businesses in underserved communities. Read more by clicking SBA awards Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center $2.5 million for program
MAUMELLE: With Arkansas football coach Sam Pittman in the stands, it was a good time for Maumelle to put together its most complete game of the season in a 56-6 rout of winless Watson Chapel. Pittman was on hand for the game as Maumelle has not one but two Arkansas football commits on the roster this season in offensive lineman Andrew Chamblee and defensive lineman Nico Davillier. Read more by clicking Maumelle cruises past Watson Chapel, playoffs are next
NORTH LITTLE ROCK: Last Friday, North Little Rock hung tough against Bryant, the defending 7A state champs, in a 24-12 loss and will now travel to face rival Cabot this Friday with playoff positioning on the line. Read more by clicking After tough loss, trip to Cabot is next for North Little Rock
CAC: Central Arkansas Christian started six freshmen in last week’s 39-20 loss to Bald Knob, and the Mustangs will continue that baptism in the season finale Friday at Stuttgart. By Donna Lampkin Stephens and read more by clicking Mustangs look to future
Neal Moore is taking the week off.
The new Maumelle Charter High School located at 9701 White Oak Crossing in North Little Rock will be completed and open to students August 2022.
The new school will serve 8th through 12th grade students. Due to adding a new campus, the Maumelle Charter Schools' grade levels will be reconfigured.
The current Maumelle Charter Elementary School building, serving kindergarten through 5th grade students, will be reconfigured to serve kindergarten through 3rd grade students.
The current high school building, serving 6th through 12th grade students, will be reconfigured to serve 4th through 7th grade students and be renamed Maumelle Charter Middle School. Both schools are located at 900 Edgewood Drive.
The school also announced that Katie Johnson, above, has been named the principal for Maumelle Charter High School for the 2022-2023 school year. Johnson is in her first year as the school's principal now.
She was previously an assistant principal, counselor and teacher at the school. Before coming to Maumelle Charter she worked in higher education at the University of Central Arkansas.
The school also announced that Paula Newton has been named the future principal for the Maumelle Charter Middle School.
Newton will remain the principal of Maumelle Charter Elementary School until June 30, 2022. On July 1, 2022, she will become the principal of the newly formed middle school. Newton has served as the elementary school principal for more than five years.
Newton was previously the principal at Alpena Elementary School and before that was a kindergarten teacher in the Little Rock School District and also taught in the Stuttgart School District.
A search for the new principal for Maumelle Charter Elementary School will begin during the spring semester of 2022.
Tuesday was Election Day for voters in the Pulaski County Special School District and they overwhelmingly approved a millage that would allow bonds to be restructured.
While results aren't official, the millage received 1,559 votes for, to 871 against.
As a percentage, it was 64.16 percent to 35.84 or, in other words, a landslide.
View precinct by precinct voting results by clicking here
In a statement issued late Tuesday night superintendent Dr. Charles McNulty said he and the district are "grateful for the voters who showed up today and who showed up last week to vote in the annual school election. Thanks to your approval of this ballot initiative, we can now move forward on our master plans to make improvements across the District. This is a major win for our students, staff and stakeholders.”
Key to the approval was that voting for the millage wasn't a tax increase and kept the rate flat at 40.7 mills.
What it does is allow the district to restructure existing bonds, that would in turn fund a total of 10 projects to expand and improve campuses along with new facilities.
The projects would cost nearly $80 million with improvements to seven campuses, along with three projects that would make the district more efficient.
The restructuring would extend the end payment date to 2048. Currently, the bonds would be paid off in 2032 and 2035.
The previous bonds were issued in 2012, 2016 and 2017 after approval from voters in the school district. The tax rate would remain unchanged.
Maumelle is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the approved restructuring.
Not counting lighting and software improvements that would be district-wide, Maumelle would have $15 million in multiple projects slated for its high school campus.
The largest is $11 million for new baseball and softball fields, as well as an indoor practice facility that would be used by all sports teams at the school. There’s also $4 million for the Northwest Transportation Hub that would be at the high school.
The projects, with dollar amounts
Robinson High: expansion to increase enrollment to 1,500 students … $35 million
Maumelle High: indoor practice facility, softball and baseball fields … $11 million
New Northwest Transportation Pound at Maumelle High … $4 million
Mills High: multi-purpose facility … $15 million
Baker Elementary: expansion to increase enrollment to 700 students … $5 million
Harris Elementary: modifications and facility improvements … $3 million
College Station Elementary: modifications and facility improvements … $3 million
District lighting upgrades … $2 million
Sylvan Hills High: band room … $1 million
Software integration upgrades … $1 million (contingent on others first being completed)
New state legislative districts are on the horizon for Arkansas and one of the city's most impacted in the state would be Maumelle.
But, maybe in a good way.
Currently, Maumelle is served by three state senators, two of whom – Mark Johnson and Linda Chesterfield – live in Little Rock and the third – Jane English – lives in North Little Rock.
The new maps, which were approved Friday by the Arkansas Board of Apportionment, does away with that.
Maumelle, along with Sherwood, would be combined into one state Senate seat in 13, while the Crystal Hill area would remain with North Little Rock in 12 but that seat would stretch south of the Arkansas River and would include Sweet Home and Wrightsville.
A state-wide map of the state Senate seats can be viewed by clicking here.
There's 35 state Senate seats, and the new districts don't match the current seats in almost any way.
The state's population has to be divided equally among those 35 seats with 86,044 people each with some deviation allowed and the map for Pulaski County can be seen above.
The north Pulaski state Senate seats are:
12 ... 88,141 ... 2.44%
13 ... 87,995 ... 2.27%
“I think the combination of Sherwood and Maumelle will be a good senate district since it combines two similar cities along with northern Pulaski County and reduces the footprint of the area covered,” said Maumelle City Council member Chad Gardner.
He noted that Johnson’s district included Maumelle but also, “much of rural Pulaski County along with rural Faulkner County to include Clinton in Van Buren County.”
The Arkansas House has 100 seats with the ideal population for each being 30,115 but some deviation is also allowed. The state House map can be viewed by clicking here.
The map of Pulaski County seats can be seen below.
House District 63 would include most of Maumelle, with a portion of Pulaski County. House District 69 would include the north end of Maumelle and along with a portion of Faulkner County east of Mayflower and would include Lake Conway, and then back into Pulaski County to take in Little Rock Air Force Base.
It would leave Maumelle with two House members but only one will be back for the 2022 elections with incumbent David Ray but Mark Lowery, who is term-limited and running in the Republican primary for Secretary of State, would be out regardless.
Said Robin Benetz, “It is pretty obvious why you are structuring the district this way and it is to keep David Ray inside our district. We want someone local to represent our district. We are tired of politicians changing things to suit them. Either change it or I will go to the press about it and let you explain why you moved the line to this point. District 71 is low and we are over. This line needs to be shifted appropriately.”
North Little Rock would be split into several house districts with 66 covering the eastern portion of the city to Scott, then 67 would be south of Interstate 40 to the Arkansas River, while 72 would be west of I-30, and go along the river and include Crystal Hill but be bounded on the west by Maumelle's 63. North of I-40 in North Little Rock would be in with Sherwood's 64 that would also include the extreme north end of rural Pulaski County.
Those districts would be:
63 ... 29,965 ... -0.50%
64 ... 30,482 ... 1.22%
66 ... 30,632 ... 1.72%
69 ... 31,021 ... 3.01
72 ... 30,115 ... 0.00%
Legislative redistricting is done every 10 years after the Census and the public can comment on the proposed maps until Nov. 29. That’s also when the state board will vote to approve them.
Then there’s 30 days allowed for any legal challenges, which would end on Dec. 29 and barring any legal action, the maps would take effect on Dec. 30.