Watson Chapel School Board to continue with school choice

The Watson Chapel School District Board of Directors agreed to maintain its participation in the Arkansas school choice law for another year before making any decisions on whether or not to opt out of the measure.

“The state legislature passed a law that allows for open school choice for the entire state of Arkansas,” district superintendent Danny Hazelwood said to the board. “We as a district benefited from the old school choice law. As it stands now we have 25 students petitioning to leave the district and another 31 students petitioning to come here.”

Hazelwood said that the majority of the students asking to leave the district are white and are petitioning to attend the White Hall School District.

“Because the Watson Chapel district is still under a court desegregation order we can opt out of the new school choice law,” Hazelwood said. “This would mean that none of the students attending this district could petition to leave and no students attending other districts could petition to come to school here. Only siblings could transfer in or out of the district.”

Hazelwood said that under school choice the school district has not lost as many students over time as it likely would have.


The board approved separate recommendations from Hazelwood to expel four female Watson Chapel High School students for the remainder of the 2012-2013 school year and for the first semester of the 2013-2014 school year.

Each student was expelled for fighting, disorderly conduct, and violent group activity that caused injury to a Watson Chapel staff member.

By a 5-2 vote of the board a fifth female Watson Chapel High School Student was expelled for the remainder of the 2012-2013 school year and ordered to serve an in-school suspension for the first semester of the 2013-2014 school year in lieu of the original recommendation that she also be expelled for the fall 2013 semester.


The board approved employment recommendations from Hazelwood to hire Ashlyn Crow as a speech language pathologist; Rachel Maslakov as an elementary teacher; Shelby Cobb as a chemistry/physics teacher; Linda Ticey as a cafeteria worker; Diana Walker as a cafeteria worker; and Monica Ortiz as a substitute cafeteria worker.

The board accepted retirement notices from Eddie Downing, Tana Pointer, Marylyn Wright, Marcie Brock, Sue Jones, Kathy Jones and Debbie Stone.

The board accepted the resignation of Sara Jones.

Financial report

Hazelwood said that for the month of April the district received $1,842,150 and spent $1,689,134 with an ending balance of $7,143,981.