Tags: little rock school district | state | takeover

Little Rock School District Taken Over by State After Contentious Vote

Image: Little Rock School District Taken Over by State After Contentious Vote
Little Rock School District Buses outside Central High School, Little Rock, Arkansas. (wikimedia/commons)

By    |   Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 11:10 AM

The Little Rock School District is now in the control of the Arkansas Board of Education after a controversial 5-4 vote Wednesday booted the current school board but retained Superintendent Dexter Suggs.

The takeover was spurred by a Department of Education finding that six district schools — three high schools, two middle schools, and an elementary school — were in "academic distress," KATV reported.

"We cannot afford to maintain the status quo, nor can we afford to operate and expect different results if we continue to do the same thing over and over again," Suggs said earlier this month, according to KATV. "The reality of it is, if we had this meeting 10 months ago, we would have been talking about nine schools instead of six schools."

State board member Vicki Saviers — who voted for the takeover along with Sam Ledbetter, Kim Davis, Toyce Newton, and Diane Zook — told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that the move was ultimately best for the kids and said she did not believe a last-ditch compromise proposal would have produced the changes necessary.

"Bottom line, it was the best thing for students," Saviers told the newspaper.

Little Rock school board president Greg Adams told the Democrat-Gazette that he did not believe the current board had enough time to turn things around academically.

"My concern now and my hope is the kids of Little Rock will be served well and that the leadership that's going to be there will be able to find effective ways for the kids," he said. "Because that's the most important thing."

Arkansas Community Organizations, which had formed in hopes of avoiding a state takeover, issued a statement Wednesday saying that the action would heighten distrust between parents and state education officials, according to the Arkansas Times.

"Today's narrow decision by the State Board of Education to remove Little Rock's elected school board and retain the current superintendent is destructive and will further strain relations in our city between black and white, rich and poor, and neighborhoods north of I-630 and those located south of I-630," the statement said.

Suggs told KATV Wednesday that regardless of who is making the decisions, the community, state, and other stakeholders will have to come together to help the school district.

"It will take a concerted effort by all levels of leadership to make hard decisions and to take some calculated risks," he said.

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The Little Rock School District is now in the control of the Arkansas Board of Education after a controversial 5-4 vote Wednesday booted the current school board but retained Superintendent Dexter Suggs.
little rock school district, state, takeover
397
2015-10-29
Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 11:10 AM
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