UPDATE APR 19, 2021
Paron residents will once again hold a meeting to discuss the mission of creating a charter school on the property where the former Paron School stood – now the Paron Community Center. The meeting is Monday, April 19th at 6:30 p.m.
Leading the charge is young Diesell Covey, a 7th grader who stated at the last meeting his wishes to attend school in his home town. He currently travels around 40 minutes to Perryville for school. Covey said he feels like he’s playing basketball for the wrong team and he wants to wear a Paron Lion jersey. A series of state an local events meant that small Paron School District was consolidated with Bryant School District, then later, the school was shut down entirely.
Covey and other supporters approached the Community Center Board on April 6th to ask for permission to use the property – if the Arkansas Department of Education eventually allows the group to form a charter school. Board members voted to allow it, then Board President Curt Malone charged those in attendance to go out and gather support from the community. MySaline will be at the meeting to get video, so watch for that update.
UPDATE APR 7, 2021
A 7th grade student went before a community officials Tuesday night leading an effort to possibly reopen Paron School.
Diesell Covey, age 13 of Paron, made a presentation to the Paron Community Board, requesting use of the community center for a charter school, if the State Board of Education will allow them to operate a school there. The building previously served as a school for all grades. The state consolidated Paron into the Bryant School District and closed the high school in 2006. Then in 2015, the Bryant School District closed the remaining younger grades. Read more about that in the previous article below.
Covey spoke about his wishes to go to school in his own community, stating that when he plays basketball, he feels he’s playing for the wrong team. He attends Perryville Schools, a former opponent to the Paron Lions team. Covey stated that he previously enjoyed more individual instruction when he attended school at Paron, and he really wished that he could wear a Lions jersey. After some short discussion, the board voted in favor of using the building if the state approved it. Board member Curt Malone urged residents to gather support in the community for opening the school, especially people who would be willing to organize efforts and connect with the right people to get it done.
Next, local resident Nathan Bean requested use of the basketball gym for the community to use on certain days. He stated that several people in the community, young and older want to get in for recreation and exercise. Another resident suggested that regular use of the building would drive interest for opening the school. After discussion about rules of how to use the gym, the board voted to allow the gym to be used for that purpose, with Bean in charge of its use for that particular purpose. The Board then addressed how much they should charge for use of the gym. The previous charge was $200 per month for the entire community to use the facility and that would be paid by one person, who would be reimbursed by the community that donates to the fund. There was some discussion about needing to replace the lights in the gym, and how to pay for those lights.
The Board then discussed current financials. This included whether they should resume holding bingo nights, and voted to do so. They voted to pay the pest control contract.
They discussed ways to raise funding for the building maintenance and improvements, such as renting the building for special events like weddings, day classes, flea markets, etc.
They then talked about the need for the Saline County Library to serve the area more, possibly with a bookmobile, as well as the upcoming vaccine clinic on Friday April 9th, and then they adjourned.
The next meeting of the Paron Community Board is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. May 4th (the first Tuesdays).
Follow the Paron Community page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ParonCommunityCenter.
See the previous article and more history below.
PREVIOUSLY APR 5, 2021
Paron residents are determined to keep trying to get the former school reopened, after many years of hard blows to education in the community. I’ll give you some history first and the meeting date is below in bold.
In 2006, many smaller schools were mandated by the State to consolidate with other schools. As a result, Paron became part of the Bryant School District. The high school closed and kids either went to Bryant High School or used the school choice option to attend elsewhere. Many went to Perryville.
In 2015, Bryant set a millage election to a vote in a special election, and after it failed, the district was forced to make cuts, and operations of the school in Paron was part of that. So the younger students in Paron would now ride miles and miles to the nearest elementary school or middle school.
In 2016, community residents in the unincorporated community of Paron decided to try to get their school reopened as a charter school. They made a hard run for it, and went before the Arkansas State Department of Education to argue their case. The State said the petitioners hearts were in the right place, but ultimately, they lacked experience and organization to run a charter school.
Now in 2021, there is a small group that wants to try again for a charter school. On Tuesday night, April 6th, at 6:30 p.m., the group will address the Paron Community Board to ask permission to use the community building – which was formerly the school – as a school again. The community and others are welcome to attend. Click to use Google Maps for the location.
- Aug 23, 2016 – Paron Community Fight for Charter School Not Over, But They Need Residents’ Help
- Jul 18, 2016 – Paron Community Endeavors Toward Operating a Charter School
- Mar 10, 2015 – Bryant School District Releases Statement Regarding Failed Millage Election
- Apr 10, 2015 – Paron Elementary School Looks at Closing Doors
- Apr 11, 2016 – Six Bryant Schools to Receive Recognition Funds – Including the Now-Closed Paron Elementary
- Apr 21, 2015 – What It Means That Bryant School Board Will Close Paron Elementary
- Apr 23, 2015 – Bryant Schools Gives More Detail on Closing Paron Elementary & Other Budget Cuts