Author

Antoinette Grajeda

Antoinette Grajeda

Antoinette Grajeda is a multimedia journalist who has reported since 2007 on a wide range of topics, including politics, health, education, immigration and the arts for NPR affiliates, print publications and digital platforms. A University of Arkansas alumna, she earned a bachelor’s degree in print journalism and a master’s degree in documentary film.

Republican Sen. Jimmy Hickey of Texarkana (left) chaired Thursday's PEER subcommittee meeting. He and Sen. Keith Ingram (D-West Memphis) are seen here at another meeting in August. (Dwain Hebda/Arkansas Advocate)

Arkansas legislative panel approves $64 million in school relief funds 

By: - October 6, 2022

An Arkansas Legislative Council subcommittee authorized the disbursal of $64.4 million in federal relief funds to 25 school districts Thursday. This is the panel’s eighth round of review of school districts’ spending plans since July, when the council strongly recommended that schools use American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund money to […]

Appeals court stays judge’s ruling on voter-assist law

By: - October 5, 2022

Arkansas election officials can once again limit the number of voters interpreters can assist at the polls after a federal appeals court delayed implementation of a ruling that had ordered the state to stop enforcing a 2009 state law. The law prohibited someone other than poll workers from assisting more than six voters in casting […]

Arkansas House panel recommends public school funding plan that includes teacher raises

By: - October 4, 2022

The Arkansas House and Senate education committees on Tuesday split on supporting public school funding recommendations that include additional money for increased teacher salaries.  In a voice vote, the House Education Committee approved the proposal while Senators opposed it. The proposed funding formula, called the matrix, approved by House committee members Tuesday would increase funding […]

Lawmakers authorize almost $55 million in recovery funds for school districts

By: - September 28, 2022

More than $54.8 million in federal relief funds will be disbursed to 26 school districts following approval by an Arkansas Legislative Council subcommittee Wednesday. The action marked the panel’s seventh round of review of school districts’ spending plans since July, when the council strongly recommended that schools use American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School […]

Arkansas School Safety Commission chair Cheryl May speaks into a microphone while sitting at a table with Gov. Asa Hutchinson

School Safety Commission adopts final proposals before report due date

By: - September 27, 2022

The Arkansas School Safety Commission wrapped up four months of work by approving seven more recommendations at its final meeting Tuesday. Its final report to the governor is due Oct. 1. Three proposals at Tuesday’s meeting focused on cybersecurity and included recommendations for school districts to implement best practices in third-party risk management and cybersecurity […]

Limited-English voters face barriers to casting ballots in Arkansas

By: - September 27, 2022

Language poses a big challenge for voters with limited English proficiency in Arkansas, where ballots are only printed in English. Newly naturalized citizens are often afraid to vote because they don’t understand the ballot, said Mireya Reith, executive director of immigrant advocacy group Arkansas United. Voters with limited English proficiency also worry poll workers won’t […]

Legislators approve $72 million in relief funds for Arkansas school districts

By: - September 22, 2022

An Arkansas Legislative Council subcommittee approved the disbursal of $72.4 million in federal recovery funds to seven school districts Thursday. This was the sixth round of plans reviewed by lawmakers. The council adopted recommendations in July that schools use American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund money to provide retention and recruitment […]

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Jones in a navy blue suit holding a microphone

ON THE TRAIL: Chris Jones takes walking shoes, ‘PB&J’ across Arkansas

By: - September 22, 2022

FAYETTEVILLE — Democrat Chris Jones has put a lot of miles on his tennis shoes during his run for Arkansas governor. Throughout his campaign, he’s laced up two different pairs to walk a mile with Arkansans in their hometowns. Jones wanted to meet people where they are through his Walk a Mile in Your Shoes […]

School safety panel recommends funding to help implement proposals

By: - September 21, 2022

The Arkansas School Safety Commission approved two recommendations Wednesday aimed at providing funding to support best practices included in the group’s final report, which is due by Oct. 1. “I don’t think that we can walk away from this table without trying to get our schools some additional financial help because we’re asking them to […]

Senator Jimmy Hickey speaks into a microphone

Arkansas lawmakers OK funding for Camden hospital, continue debate on federal pandemic relief

By: - September 16, 2022

Arkansas legislators on Friday approved a request from the state Department of Human Services for up to $6 million in federal pandemic relief funding to support a Camden hospital at risk of closing.  However, the Arkansas Legislative Council also sent three of four committee-approved projects back to its Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review subcommittee. Some […]

Arkansas governor, AG oppose proposed protections for LGBTQ students

By: - September 15, 2022

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge on Thursday criticized the Biden administration’s proposal to increase protections and opportunities for transgender students under Title IX.  The civil rights law, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, prohibits sex-based discrimination in federally-funded education programs like sports. The proposed regulations would strengthen safeguards for LGBTQ students […]

Arkansas receives first payment in $26 billion national opioid settlement

By: - September 14, 2022

Arkansas has received more than $2.5 million from three opioid distributors as part of a national $26 billion settlement. The payment is the first of $216 million the state will receive under the agreement through annual payments over 18 years.  State and local officials still must develop plans for how to spend the settlement funds, […]