INDEPENDENCE CO, AR (KAIT) - A celebration was held at the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce recognizing a new law that will impact the future of students.
Leaders from Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce, ForwARd Arkansas and community members gathered in to acknowledge the passing of Act 456, the Arkansas Concurrent Challenge Scholarship.
The law will use excess Arkansas Lottery proceeds to fund scholarships that allow high school students to get college credits and career training credentials.
President of the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce Crystal Johnson said this was an idea shared by the Southside School District Superintendent, which led to the creation of the pilot program.
“It was through the hard work of our Independence County Education Foundation to implement that pilot program," Johnson said. “They had the vision to scale the program statewide. It’s really because of our donors support we we’re able to turn this dream into reality."
Johnson also said the program was inspired by Independence Promise, which is a part of the IMPACT Independence County strategic community plan.
The scholarship will allow qualified high school students to be awarded $125 per course.
It can be used for up to two endorsed, concurrent enrollment credit courses offered per semester at eligible two-year or four-year public and private, nonprofit colleges or universities.
Batesville Mayor Rick Elumbaugh said the new law is huge for not only the city of Batesville, but also the state of Arkansas.
“I think it’s economics, that’s what it’s all about," Elumbaugh said. "It’s economic development for our community as well as the state of Arkansas.”
Mayor Elumbaugh said he wanted to thank District 19 State Sen. James Sturch of Independence County and Crystal Johnson for their work in helping get the law passed through legislation.