By Tammy Moore Teague
Hartford students, faculty and staff heard the broken and emotional voice come over the intercom one final time, it was a dismissal, the final dismissal. The campuses of Hartford Schools are now closed.
It was at the beginning of 2018 that the announcement came. Superintendent Eddie Ray said “The cost to operate our district is exceeding the funding we receive from the state to operate.” The school consolidated with Hackett Schools in 2014, but continued to operate its Hartford campus.
Each event throughout the school year has been a “last,” but today as the loaded school buses pulled away it was a sad sense of finality. “It breaks my heart,” said Alumnus Tisha Davis. Many citizens are concerned about the future of the town itself. “Hartford School was the heartbeat of our town,” said Kathleen Harbottle. This decision has forced many families to move out the area, others are split between Mansfield Schools and Hackett Schools.
Sherry Barnes and other concerned citizens within the city formed a board to appeal to the state for funding of a Charter School. This would be a publicly funded, independent school. The application is pending and members of the board will meet with officials in Little Rock in August to determine its future.