BCN Staff – July 9, 2021 — After nearly 6-1/2 years, the State Board of Education on Thursday voted unanimously to return control of the Little Rock School District back to the community and remove the state’s second-largest school district from under the foot of the state.
In 2015, the Arkansas State Board of Education voted 5-4 to dissolve the district’s board of education following poor academic performance in six of the district’s schools. The state board of education voted in 2019 to return the school district to local governance after the election of a new board in late 2020.
In a response on Twitter concerning the district’s release from so-called “Level 5 intensive support,” the Little Rock School District Superintendent Michael Poore simply stated: “We honor the hard work of our LRSD staff and community and we appreciate your continued support.”
Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr., who has appointed former State Board of Education Director Jay Barth as the city’s first Chief Education Officer in early 2020, also tweeted his congratulations to the district and newly-elected Little Rock school board.”
“Today, @LRSD was returned to full local control. Thank you to the @ArkansasEd Board for the unanimous vote & to School Board president Vicki Hatter for representing the district today,” Scott tweeted. “@CityLittleRock remains a partner in ensuring Little Rock’s students excel.”
The Little Rock school district has been under state control since 2015. The move by the seven-person state board will now put the district in the level 4 support category. Under that designation, the superintendent and local officials will be required to provide quarterly reports to the state for one year, although Arkansas Secretary of Education Johnny Key said he does not wish to go back to state control.
Earlier in November 2020, an election was held for the first duly elected school board since 2015. In December 2020, a runoff election was held for two seats on board to complete the nine-person oversight panel. The seven other seats on the board were decided in the general election.
The members include board chair and local community activist Vicki Hatter. Other members include Evelyn Callaway, Michael Mason, Sandrekkia Morning, Leigh Ann Wilson, Ali Noland, Norma Johnson, Greg Adams, and Jeff Wood.
Poore and Little Rock city leaders have planned a news conference today to further discuss the development.
BlackConsumerNews.com will update this story as more news is available.
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