Twin Rivers School District Experiences Growing Pains

February 12, 2005 -- Posted at 2:49 p.m. CST

Williford, AR- The Williford and Oak Ridge Central school districts in Sharp and Randolph counties were forced to consolidate on an administrative level this year. The two are part of many small Arkansas schools that were forced into such a situation by a court mandate. So far, the merge has been a bit bumpy.

"Well I think it's normal anytime you put two small rural districts together there will be some differences and it takes time to work through," said Assistant Superintendent Don Baker of ORC.

Bruce Evans, who works at Williford, was appointed superintendent by an interim school board last summer. With that position he was responsible for the finances of both schools.

"You've got money being dumped sometimes on the Williford side, sometimes on the Twin Rivers side and sometimes on the Oak Ridge Central side," said Superintendent Bruce Evans.

Since there were questions about how the money was allocated, the school board took some fiscal responsibilities away from Evans. The board transferred the responsibilities of finance and personnel to Baker last month.

Patrons in the Williford district didn't care for the board's decision. They were concerned that Evans won't be re-appointed superintendent. They conducted a peaceful sit in on Jan. 24 at Williford High School to express their concern.

Furthermore there seem to be communication problems between the Oak Ridge and Williford school board members. On February 1st a special school board meeting was called.

"The school board president called Mr. Evans mid-morning and the meeting wasn't until 7 p.m.," said Baker.

"I feel that I found out about the meeting after the fact," said Evans.

Evan says, he just hopes the problems will be worked out for the sake of the students.