Dollarway School District

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Dollarway School District is a school district headquartered in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, United States.[1] With over 1,600 students and employs more than 300 educators and staff, the district currently has three active school campuses.

It serves sections of Pine Bluff as well as Altheimer, Sherrill, and Wabbaseka. It is one of four school districts to serve sections of Pine Bluff. A small portion of White Hall is in the Dollarway school district.[2] It also serves the unincorporated areas of Tucker, Plum Bayou,[3] Pastoria, and Wright.[4]

History[edit]

The Altheimer Unified School District consolidated into the Dollarway School District on July 10, 2006.[3] This consolidation meant that small towns and rural areas in northern Jefferson County, including Altheimer, Sherrill, Wabbaseka, Tucker, and Plum Bayou, became a part of the district.[2][3] For a period the consolidated district had two taxation rates, one for the original Dollarway district and one for the former Altheimer Unified.[5] In addition the district operated two bus mechanic stops, with the Pine Bluff one serving the majority of the district and the Altheimer one moving children from the Altheimer area to the schools in Pine Bluff.[4]

The Arkansas Department of Education took control of the school district in 2012 due to failing to meet state education guidelines. In 2014 state control ended and the school board resumed operations.[6] State control resumed in 2015 due to low test scores.[7] The State of Arkansas designated the school district as being in "academic distress" from 2011 until 2016, and after an audit found issues in financial reporting, in April 2016 the Arkansas Board of Education also ruled that the district was in "fiscal distress".[6]

As of 2015 the Dollarway School Board exempted the district from a state law that normally allows parents in one school district to have their children sent to attend schools in another school district. Parents from seven families, including the president of the Dollarway Parent Teacher Organization, Annie Bryant, argued against the exemption; Bryant stated that due to the large number of students on free or reduced lunch, it was clear that the students had no other choice but to go to public schools, and therefore the district ought to allow transfers. As of that year there were no persons requesting that their children be transferred from another school district to the Dollarway district.[8]

Demographics[edit]

In 2015, according to Bryant, about 98% of the district's students were on free or reduced lunches.[8]

Schools[edit]

Open:

  • Dollarway High School, serving grades 9 through 12.
  • Robert F. Morehead Middle School, serving grades 5 through 8.
    • Formerly Dollarway Junior High School;[9] In 2016 it moved into the former Townsend Park Elementary School, while Dollarway High moved into the previous Morehead building.[10]
  • James Matthews Elementary School, located in Pine Bluff and serving prekindergarten through grade 4.

Closed:

  • Altheimer–Martin Elementary School, located in Altheimer and serving prekindergarten through grade 5.
    • Altheimer-Martin Elementary School, a Dollarway School District elementary school, occupied the former high school facility. The 30,000-square-foot (2,800 m2) building was built in 1987. It included a gymnasium. Up to 2013 the school's enrollment declined, and in 2013 the Dollarway superintendent decided that the school should be closed in light of the declining attendance. Since 2013 some property had been taken from the school building, and a lack of maintenance occurred. Altheimer mayor Zola Hudson stated a desire for the city government to repurpose the building.[6]
  • Pinecrest Elementary School, in Pine Bluff[9]
  • Townsend Park Elementary School, located in Pine Bluff[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Home page. Dollarway School District. Retrieved on July 31, 2017. "4900 Dollarway Rd. Pine Bluff, AR 71602"
  2. ^ a b "SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENCE MAP (2010 CENSUS): Jefferson County, AR." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on July 31, 2017. Note that, while the Altheimer Unified School District's boundaries are indicated, the district had already consolidated into Dollarway School District at the time the map was made.
  3. ^ a b c "ConsolidationAnnex_from_1983.xls." Arkansas Department of Education. Retrieved on July 31, 2017. Note that Plum Bayou consolidated into the Wabbaseka Tucker school district in 1983, then the Altheimer-Sherrill and Wabbaseka Tucker school districts consolidated into Altheimer Unified in 1993, which in turn consolidated into Dollarway in 2006. Therefore this district serves Tucker and Plum Bayou.
  4. ^ a b "School closures hit a community". The Pine Bluff Commercial. 2013-04-11. Retrieved 2017-08-04. The former Altheimer district included students from Altheimer, Wabbaseka, Sherrill, Tucker, Pastoria, Wright and the Plum Bayou communities.  - Alternate location at the Arkansas Department of Education (PDF page 3/13)
  5. ^ "DOLLARWAY PATRONS FOR BETTER SCHOOLS v. DOLLARWAY SCHOOL DISTRICT." At FindLaw. Retrieved on August 2, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c Hardy, Benjamin (2016-07-28). "School's out forever". Arkansas Times. Retrieved 2017-07-31. 
  7. ^ Brantley, Max (2015-12-10). "State takes over Dollarway School District". Arkansas Times. Retrieved 2017-08-02. 
  8. ^ a b "Dollarway parents are upset about not being allowed to transfer children to another district". The Pine Bluff Commercial. 2015-05-22. Retrieved 2017-07-31. 
  9. ^ a b c "2002-2003 Arkansas Education Directory." Arkansas Department of Education. Retrieved on July 31, 2017. Page 65 (PDF p. 71/157).
  10. ^ Davis, Shedelle (2016-08-19). "Dollarway School District clarifies school name changes". The Pine Bluff Commercial. Retrieved 2017-08-02. 

External links[edit]