State board turns down agriculture school request, supporter says

State board turns down agriculture school request, supporter says
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: WAAT Facebook Page)
(Source: WAAT Facebook Page)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

WEINER, AR (KAIT) - A plan to open an agricultural charter school in Weiner was denied Wednesday, a supporter of the project said.

According to Greta Greeno, the state charter school panel denied the application. If it had been approved, the school would have opened during the 2018-19 school year.

"The state charter school panel denied the application today but we are still exploring our options including an appeals process," Greeno said.

Greeno said earlier this month that the group had prepared and worked to make the school a reality.

The application was submitted.

"There will be a vote after the hearing by the authorizing panel, but that will go also before the state board and must be approved by the state board," Greeno said.

If the application had been approved by both, Greeno said the Weiner Academy of Agriculture and Technology would have opened next year with a focus on agriculture education and STEM.

"We are going to emphasize on a strong STEM curriculum with project based learning that we believe is going to fill that gap that exists when students graduate and go on to post-secondary education," Greeno said.

What makes this charter school different, Greeno said, is the business and industry partnerships. "We have formed those relationships and those partnerships with them and they are solid," Greeno said.

Greeno said another great asset they will have is the University of Arkansas.

Dr. Karen Ballard is a professor of Program Evaluation in the Department of Program and Staff Development for the UA System.

She works particularly with the Division of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension.

Greeno said Ballard has offered her help in making this happen.

Greeno said they are so thankful for the support she's given including preparing to offer staff to develop curriculum for the agriculture school.

"It's a culmination of six years of intense work towards this goal of offering this to students," Greeno said.

She said this school is for students all over Northeast Arkansas in hopes of giving them a choice in quality education and areas of the agriculture industry.

As for facilities if the charter application is approved, Greeno said they are negotiating possible locations.

Greeno said they have prepared well for this presentation and hearing and know there will be a number of supporters including law makers at the meeting.

To follow along with their journey, follow their Facebook page here.

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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