Board Mem­ber Uses School Choice For Trans­fers

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Lynn Kut­ter

FARMINGTON — Ev­ery year, many chil­dren are al­lowed to trans­fer from their home district to a non­res­i­dent district through the Arkansas Pub­lic School Choice Pro­gram.

Farmington School Board mem­ber Wade Cash has trans­ferred his three chil­dren to Prairie Grove School District through this pro­gram.

Cash, who was elected to Farmington School Board in Septem­ber 2015, con­firmed Thurs­day his chil­dren are now at­tend­ing Prairie Grove schools.

He said he did not want to get into the rea­sons for the move but said he would be glad to dis­cuss his rea­sons with any­one face to face.

“It was a bet­ter sit­u­a­tion for all three of my kids over there,” Cash said. “I have one shot with my kids to do what’s best for them.”

Cash said he plans to serve the re­main­der of his five-year term, which runs through Septem­ber 2020.

He sent the fol­low­ing com­ment by email, “I will con­tinue to serve on the board to ful­fill my com­mit­ment. I have many friends and fam­ily in the district that I look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing to rep­re­sent.”

The Pub­lic School Choice Act of 2015 was es­tab­lished to en­able a stu­dent in kin­der­garten-12th grade to at­tend a school in a non­res­i­dent district, sub­ject to some lim­i­ta­tions

as es­tab­lished in state law and with the Arkansas Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion.

All school dis­tricts are re­quired to par­tic­i­pate and ap­pli­ca­tions are sub­mit­ted on be­half of stu­dents to the non­res­i­dent school district. The dead­line to ap­ply each year is May 1.

The law al­lows dis­tricts to adopt spe­cific stan­dards for ac­cep­tance and re­jec­tion of ap­pli­ca­tions. One ex­am­ple would be the ca­pac­ity of the pop­u­la­tion in a pro­gram, class, gravel level or school build­ing.

Prairie Grove ac­cepted 35 ap­pli­ca­tions from stu­dents to trans­fer into the district through the School Choice law, ac­cord­ing to the Prairie Grove Su­per­in­ten­dent’s of­fice.

Farmington School District ac­cepted 76 stu­dents through School Choice and de­nied three ap­pli­ca­tions be­cause of ca­pac­ity, said a rep­re­sen­ta­tive with the Su­per­in­ten­dent’s of­fice.

Bryan Law, Farmington school su­per­in­ten­dent, last week said he pre­ferred not to com­ment about Cash’s de­ci­sion to trans­fer his chil­dren.

“I think any com­ments need to be made by him,” Law said, re­fer­ring to Cash.

Farmington School Board Pres­i­dent Jeff Ox­ford said ev­ery par­ent has to do what they feel is best for their chil­dren.

“I’m go­ing to con­tinue to do what I can to help the school district,” Ox­ford said. “This is an ex­cit­ing time. We’ve opened up a new high school. We’re go­ing to con­tinue to fo­cus on im­prov­ing the ed­u­ca­tional and over­all ex­pe­ri­ences of the stu­dents in our school district. And at the same time be­ing mind­ful of the way we spend the pa­tron’s money to ac­com­plish this.”

Ox­ford said he had to ad­mit he was some­what con­cerned with Cash mov­ing his chil­dren to Prairie Grove but noted, “Mr. Cash has not spo­ken to me about the rea­sons be­hind it.”

In a pro­file sub­mit­ted to the En­ter­prise-Leader for the 2015 school board elec­tion, Cash wrote, “I have lived in North­west Arkansas my whole life. When we were de­cid­ing on where to raise our chil­dren we could have moved any­where but we made a cal­cu­lated de­ci­sion to choose the Farmington School District based on its size, lo­ca­tion, and school sys­tem. Many fam­i­lies are mov­ing into the district for the same rea­sons and I would like to pre­serve the rea­sons that so many of us have cho­sen Farmington Schools.”

Cash de­feated in­cum­bent Tony Pars­ley in the Septem­ber 2015 school elec­tion.

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