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An Arkansas education amendment group receives a $500k donation from a Walmart heir



Little Rock, Arkansas – A report states that Jim Walton, the heir to Walmart, gave $500,000 to an organization whose goal is to thwart an education amendment in Arkansas.

According to a May 15 ethics commission report, Walton made the donation on April 9, 2024.
The organization Walton gave to reported receiving $636,000 in donations in a single month, the bulk of which were purportedly from Walton. The report said that the majority of the $29,803.80 in total reported expenses were attributed to advertising.

The recipient organization was established on April 1, 2024, and is called Arkansans for Students and Educators. According to an organization statement that was submitted to the Arkansas Ethics Commission, the group was established “For the disqualification and/or defeat of The Arkansas Educational Rights Amendment of 2024.”

This particular proposal was put out by the organization For AR Kids, which is now collecting signatures in an effort to have the amendment on the ballot for 2024.

The Arkansas Public Policy Panel, the Arkansas Conference of the NAACP, the Arkansas Education Association, the Citizens First Congress, Stand Up Arkansas, and the Arkansas Retired Teachers Association are the coalition members of the For AR Kids Ballot Question Committee.

As to the documents submitted to Attorney General Tim Griffin’s office, the amendment’s ballot title was authorized on March 1, 2024.

The goal of the amendment is to “require identical academic standards and identical standards for accreditation, including assessments of students and schools based on such standards, for any school that receives State or local funds,” in addition to the following.

• The guarantee of voluntary universal access to pre-K for 3 and 4-year-olds, afterschool & summer programming, quality special education, and wrap-around services for children within 200% of the Federal Poverty Line.
• Establish the minimum quality standards ordered by the Arkansas Supreme Court in 2002 in its
Lakeview decision.

At a news conference on May 21, the organization announced that they would not be discouraged by the contribution and that they were halfway toward collecting the 90,000 signatures required to get the amendment on the ballot in November.

“We’ve seen some of the big dollars going into some of the opposition campaigns. We are definitely starting to emphasize fundraising a little bit more,” said Bill Kopsky with the AR Public Policy Panel.

“With that big money that we’re seeing pouring into our opposition we’re starting to see an awful lot of misinformation being spread around the amendment and who we are as a coalition,” Kopsky said.

During the press conference, Daronda Elaine Williams of the Concerned Citizens of Prescott group discussed the donation.

“We are a grassroots coalition putting common sense education reform on the ballot for Arkansas voters to vote on.

We’ve been attacked by billionaires and millionaires with a big money campaign aimed to dismantle our public schools,” Williams said. “[Jim Walton] has been trying to destroy our public schools for years now. He’s invested a half million dollars preventing kids from getting the proven education support they need.”

“He’s invested a half million dollars into leaving the door open so lawmakers can water down our educational standards,” Williams continued. “He doesn’t have kids in our schools. He doesn’t live in our community.”
Williams added that Walton and others want to impose an “extremist agenda” on Arkansans until public schools were gone or “just a shell.”

Forbes reports that Walton, the youngest son of Walmart founder Sam Walton, has a net worth of $83 billion.
Additionally, Forbes reports that Jim and his sister Alice are “spearheading a program that will issue $300 million in bonds to help charter schools invest in facilities.”


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