Attention, Parents: Do You Have School Choice?
Mother of two blocked from changing schools for her daughters.
Amanda Yardley wants her two daughters transferred out of the Cleveland County School District in Rison.
A transfer request was originally denied in November.
Amanda Yardley appealed that decision at the Cleveland County School Board’s regular meeting in December. A representative spoke on her behalf, saying the two girls were bullied repeatedly.
The motion and vote by the board is unclear.
Listen near the 14:00 minute mark for the motion.
Amanda Yardley had already contacted the Arkansas Department of Education before the December school board meeting. On Dec. 20, she received this email:
On Monday, Jan. 8, 2024, Amanda Yardley went to the Cleveland County School District's Administration Office in Rison. She received paperwork from a secretary to withdraw her daughters. Teachers, a secretary, a librarian, a counselor and a principal signed the paperwork.
Amanda Yardley then went to Fordyce to enroll her daughters in that district where she was denied.
After that denial, Amanda Yardley contacted South Arkansas Reckoning by phone, which led to in-person interviews with her and her two daughters.
Listen to Amanda Yardley explain her situation.
Listen to Breonna Yardley, a senior, describe her experiences concerning the Cleveland County School District.
Stacy Yardley, a seventh grader, is shy and chose to write about her experiences and share it with South Arkansas Reckoning.
South Arkansas Reckoning has repeatedly asked Jerrod Williams, Cleveland County School District's superintendent, for clarification about the transfer.
So far, there has been no official clarification by Williams.
South Arkansas Reckoning contacted Department of Education attorney Stephen Reynolds by phone. He was unavailable. We left a voice mail. That voice mail was forwarded to Kimberly Mundell, communications director for the Department of Education. She responded.
Amanda Yardley said she thought she had done that in the December email to Reynolds.
South Arkansas Reckoning called the Fordyce School District. We were placed on hold for more than five minutes after asking to speak to Superintendent Rhonda Lawson. Another time no one answered.
We attended Monday’s night Fordyce School Board meeting. We asked Lawson about the transfer.
Lawson said she didn’t know much about the situation.
“I just have to wait on the paperwork,” Lawson said.
Here's our original story: