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WH board awaits word from attorney on Redfield request

The White Hall School Board was not expected to take action Tuesday evening on a petition to turn over Redfield Middle School at the end of the school year to a non-profit organization for use as a proposed open charter school.

Superintendent Larry Smith said Monday he had asked the district’s attorney to review the Redfield request and did not anticipate a reply by Tuesday’s meeting.

The Redfield City Council agreed last week to petition the school board and Mayor Tony Lawhon sent the letter on Thursday addressed to school directors.

The Keep Redfield Middle School organization is seeking 503(c) (3) nonprofit status under the Internal Revenue Code to operate a charter school, Todd Dobbins, task force chairman, told Redfield aldermen.

The White Hall School Board’s voted Jan. 8 to close the Redfield school at the end of the current school year and transfer Redfield students to White Hall Middle School.

Dobbins said earlier that opening a charter school may be the community’s best option for keeping a middle school in Redfield. Sponsors of a charter school must submit a letter of intent to the state by June 1, he added.

It would be the 2014-15 school year before an open charter school could become operational in Redfield, Dobbins acknowledged.

A request from “Keep Redfield Middle School/Redfield Tri-county Charter School” to use the middle school gym and cafeteria for a Feb. 23 dance to raise funds was one of nine facility use requests on Tuesday’s board agenda.

The board was scheduled to recognize six students and faculty members during Tuesday’s meeting:

• Michelle Benson, eighth-grade student at Redfield Middle School, won the Jefferson County Spelling Bee for her age group;

• Gracie Lawhon, third-grader at Hardin Elementary at Redfield, and Caleb Nichols, first-grader at Hardin Elementary, both finished in third place in their age group in the spelling bee;

• Joseph Steward, White Hall High School senior football player, was selected to play in the state high school All-Star football game;

• Beverly Overturf, Hardin Elementary principal, has been nominated for the Arkansas Elementary Principal of the Year award; and

• Tamara Clark, WHHS teacher, has been selected to serve on the Arkansas Transition Class Advisory Board.

The board was also scheduled to consider a number of proposals, including bids, insurance and a request to sell property.