Hendrix Gets Charter School Planning Grant From Walton Foundation

Hendrix College President J. Timothy Cloyd said Monday that the college had received a $20,000 charter school planning grant from The Walton Family Foundation Inc. of Bentonville to begin research on establishing a Hendrix College charter school in Conway.

For the next 12 months, James Jennings, chair of the education department, will use the funds to research the concept of a new charter school for pre-K through eighth-grade students. If the research indicates a need for the school, the college will submit a proposal to the state Board of Education for charter school application.

"Much of my research for the charter school will involve asking many questions and finding many answers," Jennings said.

Jennings said he will seek assistance with the plan from the Arkansas Department of Education, the Conway and Little Rock school districts, and the Conway City Planning Office, among other groups. Jennings' research also will include visiting outstanding charter schools; surveying parents, teachers and principals; and conducting public hearings to listen to citizens interested in the school.

The proposed school would be located near the campus on 129 acres between Harkrider Street and Interstate 40 north of Siebenmorgen Road. The college's master plan calls for designing The Village at Hendrix, a residential and commercial development. The first phase of development, a wellness and athletics center and sports complex, is under way now, and other developments will be phased in over the coming years.