The Arkansas State Board of Education recently rejected a diversity report from a local school.
Although Haas Hall Academy has been recognized as one of the best schools in the state for many years, students in both its Rogers and Springdale locations may not look like the rest of the community.
“I’m certainly not the only one to notice the lack of diversity,” said Elizabeth Lyon-Ballay, who is orchestrating change.
Last week, The State Board of Education rejected the report from Haas Hall Academy. The Board said some schools don’t align with the communities at large, including English language learners, students who qualify for free or reduced lunches, and students with special needs.
“It’s been reporting absolutely zero free and reduced lunch students, and reporting zero kids with special needs,” Lyon-Ballay said.
Lyon-Ballay has recently gained attention for bringing up these questions about the school in a series of blog posts that state the numbers just don’t add up.
“Haas Hall Academy has been giving their own numbers, they are reporting their own data, and own reports,” Lyon-Ballay said.
Lyon-Ballay used the Freedom of Information Act to find this information for herself and feels the school is acting like a private school although it’s a public Charter school.
“I think it’s fraudulent that they are collecting extra money. Not just the regular money, but the bonus cash on the strength of data that is not accurate — then I think they deserve that extra scrutiny,” Lyon-Ballay said.
The school receives money from the state for the high level of test scores, something that some say is not fair due to its lack of diversity.
We reached out to the school multiple times — including going to one of the locations to speak with the superintendent — but, are still waiting to hear from Haas Hall Academy.
“For me, it’s a moral imperative to ask those tougher questions,” Lyon-Ballay said.
If you would like to see the break down of diversity demographics of each Haas Hall Academy school in our area according to that report, click here.