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We need YOUR help to build a better tomorrow!

Next time you are hunkered down at your desk, working on an important report, or focused on a pressing budget issue, ask yourself, “Would I still be able to concentrate if I could hear everything going on in the next office, or if the room was so cold I had to bundle up in a coat?” For most of us, the answer is no – it would be a distracting work environment.  Now picture a group of high school students working hard to learn a difficult calculus problem, even though the thinly insulated walls of their modular classroom don’t keep out noise from the class next door, or the chill from a cold winter day.  Imagine that those students still manage to consistently rank among the top in the state, have been able to earn $5.4 million in college scholarship money over the last four years, and outpace state and national averages for college acceptance and graduation. 

That’s the case for students of KIPP Delta Public Schools, a public charter school with campuses in Helena-West Helena and Blytheville. No KIPP Delta school has a dedicated gymnasium; our elementary school has no playground, and only two schools have a cafeteria.  (Our high school students carry their lunches to classrooms, eating from trays on their laps.)  With much of our class space on the Helena campus consisting of the poorly insulated modular trailers mentioned above, students are forced to face freezing temperatures, rain, and often flooded sidewalks to change classes. “Work hard” is part of KIPP Delta’s motto, but it should apply to our rigorous academics – not the challenge of navigating our campus facilities.

KIPP Delta has been recognized statewide and nationally for high student achievement, even though our students are learning in cramped, inadequate conditions.  They deserve better than that.  It’s time our public charter schools receive access to a dedicated state funding source for facilities, as well as access to district facilitiessitting empty and unused.

Public charter schools like KIPP Delta receive state per-pupil foundation funding.  However, unlike traditional public schools, charters cannot draw on the local tax base for facility needs, and they do not receive funding from the state’s Academic Facilities Partnership Program, which helps traditional public schools build, renovate, and maintain their facilities.  Therefore, for many charters, funds must be raised to cover the costs of facilities - money that should be spent educating students.  KIPP Delta has incurred more than $7 million in debt to fund our facilities.  Meanwhile, the Helena-West Helena School District received $6 million in state money for facilities last year alone. 

In addition, many traditional public districts have perfectly good buildings going unused.  Public charters should be given access to lease those buildings, which are taxpayer-funded facilities that otherwise sit empty and deteriorating.  It simply makes good sense, especially when our students are sitting just blocks away in temporary, cramped classrooms and could put those spaces to good use.

The state has an opportunity to ensure all our students have access to the kind of learning environment they deserve – through dedicated facilities funding, and by guaranteeing access to unused district facilities.  Legislation now before the General Assembly would help correct this major disparity. Our students have shown they can achieve great things despite the challenge of inadequate facilities, but it’s a burden they shouldn’t have to bear. 

YOU are the most impactful voice a lawmaker can hear from on this issuePlease reach out to one or more of the Senate and House Education Committee members below to let them know how important SB789 and SB847 are to you, in helping KIPP Delta continue to grow and thrive

Together, we can make a difference for our school and for our children. 

 

Outreach Examples

 Sample E-Mail Template

Dear Senator/Representative ______:

I am a member of the KIPP Delta Board of Directors.  I am writing to urge your support of SB789 and SB847 - legislation needed to ensure the continued growth and success of our schools.

KIPP Delta, like all charter schools, receives state funding on a per pupil basis for every student enrolled.  However, unlike traditional public schools, it doesn’t have access to local tax dollars to help pay for facilities, and charters do not receive dedicated facilities funding from the state.  Therefore, on average, KIPP Delta receives $2,000 less per student annually than traditional districts.  Our school is forced to either fundraise, or incur debt in order to pay for our student facilities.  Please click on the below link to watch a short video demonstrating the challenge our current facilities pose to our students, parents, and teachers.

KIPP Delta Public Schools Video Link: http://vimeo.com/106989235

In many cases, current law also prevents us from purchasing or gaining access to unused and vacant local district buildings.  Senate Bill 789 and Senate Bill 847 will help narrow this funding gap, while ensuring charters are able to lease or purchase vacant district buildings – buildings paid for by tax dollars – instead of letting them sit empty and deteriorating.  

We appreciate your service and your time.  Please support SB789 and SB 847 -- it’s important to the future of our school and our students!

Best,

Your Name

 

Contact Information (Choose at least one from each branch to e-mail):

Representative Bruce Cozart – bruce.cozart@arkansashouse.org

Representative Sheilla Lampkin – sheilla.lampkin@arkansashouse.org

Representative Charles Armstrong – ffa191@sbcglobal.net

Representative Scott Baltz – scottbaltz@yahoo.com

Representative Nate Bell – nate.bell@arkansashouse.org

Representative Gary Deffenbaugh – gary.deffenbaugh@arkansashouse.org

Representative Charlotte Douglas – charlotte.douglas@arkansashouse.org

Representative Jon Eubanks – jon.eubanks@arkansashouse.org

Representative Jeremy Gillam – Jeremy.gillam@arkansashouse.org

Representative Bill Gossage – bill@billgossage.com

Representative Michael John Gray – Michael.gray@arkansashouse.org

Representative Justin Harris – Justin.harris@arkansashouse.org

Representative Grant Hodges – grant.hodges@arkansashouse.org

Representative Greg Leding – greg.leding@arkansashouse.org

Representative Mark Lowery – markdlowery@mac.com

Representative Mark McElroy – mdmcelroy1@yahoo.com

Representative Reginald Murdock – rkm_72360@yahoo.com

Representative James Ratliff – jamesratliff3468@gmail.com

Representative Warwick Sabin – wsabin@wsabin.org

Representative John Walker – johnwalkeratty@aol.com

Senator Jane English – jane.english@senate.ar.gov

Senator Jim Hendren – jim.hendren@senate.ar.gov

Senator Blake Johnson – blake.johnson@senate.ar.gov

Senator Bobby Pierce – bobby.pierce@senate.ar.gov

Senator Eddie Joe Williams – eddiejoe.williams@senate.ar.gov

Senator Uvalde Lindsey – Uvalde.lindsey@senate.ar.gov

Senator Eddie Cheatham – eddie.cheatham@senate.ar.gov

Senator Alan Clark – alan.clark@senate.ar.gov

 

Sample Phone Script

Hello, I’m _________, a member of the KIPP Delta Board of Directors.  I have a message for (Sen. or Rep. _____________).  I just wanted to let you know how important SB789 and SB847 are to our school, and to me as a member of the board.  Both would help make sure our students are able to learn in classrooms that are warm, safe, and dry. I am proud of KIPP Delta’s record of achievement, and I think it’s time we start to narrow the funding gap between charters and traditional public schools.  Thank you for your time and support!

House In-Session Phone:

501-682-6211

Senate In-Session Phone:

501-682-2902

PDF icon KIPP Delta Call to Action.pdf

If you are a journalist or a member of the media and have an inquiry, please contact:

Carissa Godwin
Chief Development Officer
870-714-9635
carissa.godwin@kippdelta.org