In a video released Oct. 7, Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. outlined a proposal for restoring “full and complete local control of all Little Rock School District schools.”
Scott says that he has remained in regular contact with both Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Department of Education Secretary Johnny Key and plans to present the proposal. Scott is asking the State Board of Education to consider and pass the proposal during its Oct. 10 meeting.
Currently under the state education department’s control, Scott says he wants to restore the district to local control. Having the district under state control, he says, “denies agency for the very students, teachers and families who must take ownership of their schools if they are to thrive.”
Under Scott’s plan, the locally operated schools would be overseen by a temporary school board for the majority of 2020 – from January 2020 until a new school board could be elected during the November 2020 general elections. The temporary school board, which he refers to as a “transition board,” would be composed of “local community appointments and State Board appointments.”
Schools that maintain an “F” rating, however, are a more complicated matter. Scott says these schools will be operated by the Little Rock School District, as “community schools.” These schools would provide services for students and their families to respond to local poverty.
However, the schools would operate under a memorandum of understanding with the education department. This, he says, will ensure that the “collective efforts of state and local leadership are focused on improving the academic performance of those students.”
Scott aims to hire a chief education officer by Jan. 1, 2020. This officer would be tasked with coordinating the city, district and state involvement in the LRSD’s education goals.