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Conway schools cash-in

Posted: May 23, 2014 - 1:11pm
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Ten schools in the Conway Public School District received financial incentives for being high-performing public schools in the state of Arkansas.

The Arkansas School Recognition and Reward Program recognizes the top 20 percent of schools based on academic achievement, academic growth and graduation rates. In the 2013-14 school year, the program recognized 206 public schools as high-performing schools.

“I know that it takes principals like you all that put students first to have great education in Conway. It is your daily work that makes our education as great as it is,” said Conway Superintendent Dr. Greg Murry.

With 10 schools earning recognition, Conway Public Schools ties Bentonville Public Schools as having the most reward schools in Arkansas.

Schools in the top 20 percent this year received $45.35 per student. Schools that were in the top 10 percent received $90.70 per student.

The Top 10 percent Reward Schools include Carl Stuart Middle ($65,316.48), Carolyn Lewis Elementary ($39,619.08), Ellen Smith Elementary ($44,823.78), and Jim Stone Elementary ($41,377.14).

The Top 20 percent Reward Schools include Bob Courtway Middle ($21,818.47), Conway Jr. High ($64,607.27), Julia Lee Moore Elementary ($14,651.15), Raymond and Phyllis Simon Middle ($19,633.93), Ruth Doyle Middle ($24,661.09), and Woodrow Cummins Elementary ($21,944.88).

To honor these schools, Brad Lacy, president and CEO of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce; Dr. Greg Murry, superintendent of Conway Public Schools; and Sen. Jason Rapert will present ceremonial checks to the principals of each reward school. The presentation will take place Friday, May 23, at 10 a.m. at the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Academic achievement and growth not only mean students are getting a quality education; they resulted in additional funds for high-performing schools,” said Dr. Tom Kimbrell, commissioner of the Arkansas Department of Education. “The funds will allow schools to provide additional resources and tools to help students become ready for college and careers.”

Schools receiving recognition funds established a committee to determine the best use of the funds. The committee included the principal, a teacher elected by the faculty, and a parent representative selected by the local Parent Teacher Association or another parental involvement group. Schools may use the funds for faculty and staff bonuses, educational equipment and materials, or personnel to assist with improving or maintaining student performance.

A total of $7 million from the governor’s allocation of the General Improvement Fund was designated for the Arkansas School Recognition and Reward Program this school year. The Arkansas Legislature supported Gov. Mike Beebe’s recommendation to fund the program with $7 million from general revenue in the 2014-2015 school year.

Originally passed as part of 2004’s Act 35, school rewards had never been funded until this year. Act 1429 of 2013 revised the program, and Act 703 of 2013 appropriated funding. Arkansas Learns, the private sector alliance for excellence in public education, championed annual funding in both the 89th General Assembly and the recent fiscal session. To learn more, visit ArkansasLearns.org.

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