In November 2020, all of the Little Rock School District schools are set to return to local control.
On Thursday, Oct. 11, the Arkansas State Board of Education voted to pass a motion placing control of all 40 LRSD schools in the district’s hands in November 2020. This marks the culmination of roughly five years of state control for the district’s schools.
Earlier this week, Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. released his proposal for restoring local control of the schools. He said that keeping the district’s schools under state control would deny “agency for the very students, teachers and families who must take ownership of their schools if they are to thrive.”
However, one aspect of his plan would have kept the state involved in the district’s administration. Schools that maintained an “F” rating would have been operated by the district as “community schools” under a memorandum of understanding with the Arkansas Department of Education.
The State Board of Education also voted to remove the Little Rock Education Association’s (LREA) negotiating power with the Commissioner of Education, Johnny Key.
The Arkansas Education Association subsequently released a statement claiming that removing the LREA’s negotiating power amounts to an “attempt to silence educators.”
“Today, the Arkansas board of education voted to return local control of Little Rock schools to the community, however the Board also approved a measure that attempts to silence educators be eliminating the recognition of their union. The Little Rock Education Association and the Arkansas Education Association distributed the following message to Little Rock educators,” the statement read. “This afternoon, the state Board of Education made clear their lack of concern for the students, educators and community of Little Rock. Despite overwhelming opposition, the board has decided to use every tool at their disposal to re-segregate our schools and degrade the professionalism of the district’s educators.
This story will be updated as new developments arise.