Texarkana private school excited for possibilities from LEARNS Act

Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 4:53 PM CST
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TEXARKANA, Ark. (KSLA) — Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders has introduced the LEARNS Act to overhaul education in her state. The idea has met opposition by some but has been embraced by those in the private school sector.

Located in Texarkana, Trinity Christian School has an enrollment of around 200 students and 30 teachers. School leaders say they are looking forward to the governor’s act becoming law.

“Private education has been promised for several decades. It goes all the way back to George W. Bush and No Child Left Behind Act,” said Marcus Bellamy, head of Trinity Christian.

Trinity Christian provides classes for pre-K students through high school. The LEARNS Act would give parents vouchers to send their kids to private and Christian schools.

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“Now a family or parent’s tax dollars will allow them to a school of their choice and that’s what makes this a game-changing legislation,” said Bellamy.

He said the legislation would increase the student population for private education in Arkansas.

“We are looking and already receiving feedback from people in the community of their interest in Trinity Christian School. Because of this legislation, we feel confident that our enrollment will increase.”

The LEARNS Act also would set a starting teacher’s salary at $50,000 a year, which has some smaller public school districts concerned. However, Bellamy said, they are prepared to meet the requirement.

“Trinity Christian School Board has made the decision prior to the LEARNS Act to continue to increase the salaries of our staff, so we will continue to make headway there.”

Below is Arkansas Senate Bill 294 (the LEARNS Act):