Rural Community Alliance

Our Programs


Rural Community Alliance launched its Public School by Choice campaign to highlight the value of Arkansas’ public schools and to confront the privatization wave being pushed by some large corporations and a growing number of elected officials. RCA’s core values reflect that all students receive the benefit of a good education.

Public schools in Arkansas are there to educate every student in the state, are governed by locally elected school boards, hire highly qualified teachers, and are held to the highest standards. We oppose using public dollars to fund private education and schools run by corporations. Put students, not profit, first. Please join our campaign by signing the online petition on our homepage in support of Arkansas’ rural schools, be prepared to contact legislators, sign a pledge card, join a public schools advocacy team in your region, and participate in the Step Up for Public Schools Walk in February 2019 at the State Capitol. We’re continuing to join with education partners in the state during the 2021 legislative session.


Rural Community Alliance was formed to champion rural schools and bring together the collective voices of rural Arkansans who had not been heard a grassroots movement was born. Our first fight was to stop school consolidation which efforts initially saved over 175 school districts. The second victory came after ten years. Over this time our members and staff hammered away and kept the issue in front of our legislators and governors.

In March 2015 a bill for a waiver from Act 60, Arkansas’ school consolidation law was passed. There is still more work to do on this onerous Issue of shuttering schools and bussing students miles and miles from home. RCA is committed to continue the fight. Over the past decade RCA has championed many other issues to benefit rural schools including distance learning, increased broadband capabilities, funding for Pre-K education, after school programs, and English language learners, preserving isolated funding, and correcting the Federal Title I formula that is skewed to benefit larger schools to the detriment of nearly all public schools in Arkansas.


In 2008, Rural Community Alliance began to focus much of its work on revitalizing rural communities. RCA supports the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation’s initiative, Moving the Needle from Poverty to Prosperity in Arkansas. Loss of population in rural communities has a domino effect of decreasing enrollment in schools and diminishing the ability of businesses to thrive.

The result has been shuttered buildings on main streets and declining vitality. RCA chapters first look at community development issues. Community cleanup and beautification projects by volunteers and municipalities have helped developed the social capacity to tackle larger issues. RCA has facilitated revitalization projects in over 20 communities and launched two revitalization networks, Ozark Byways and Delta Highways, to help communities collaborate with one another.

With RCA’s guidance towns that had not had grants in years began to go after resources to improve their towns. Businesses on main street caught the vision and made their buildings attractive. RCA promotes entrepreneurship as the best means to revitalize rural towns. Recently RCA became involved in the Farm to School program which provides equipment for farmers using new techniques to expand the growing season on both ends and provide fresh foods to school cafeterias. An unreasonably high % of the food served in Arkansas’ school cafeterias comes from outside the state. By improving this situation, students benefit from better taste and nutrition while local farmers also gain a needed customer and increased prosperity.


RCA is committed to implementing an intergenerational model of organizing, believing that youth have an important voice and role to play in strengthening our schools and communities.


Launched in Eudora in 2018, the RCA’s Parent Mentor Program (PMP) is adapted from the nationally recognized parent engagement model that LSNA (Chicago) created – building deep and lasting relationships between students, teachers, and parents.