I was right when I wrote in the “meet the press” line last night that Little Rock School District Superintendent Linda Watson didn’t have the votes for a contract extension beyond next year, but that the situation could change.
Here’s the significance of last night’s 4-3 vote not to extend her contract. Katherine Mitchell has always been firmly in Watson’s camp. But Diane Curry and Micheal Daugherty, both of whom voted for one-year extensions, have been on a number of occasions in the group questioning a lack of progress and responsiveness in the administration. Curry, particularly, was an important swing vote. It is hard at this point to see her vote for additional time as superintendent turning the other way, unless Watson presents obstacles to the coming implementation of the strategic plan.
That puts Charles Armstrong with the deciding vote on Watson’s future. He’s part of the black majority that rose to power with teachers union help. (Curry couldn’t have won without the union labor.) Watson has assiduously courted the teachers union leadership. But Armstrong has also been independent. We shall see.
Whatever the politics, the internal board communications point to continuing dissatisfaction with leadership. That dissatisfaction led, as I’ve written several times before, to earlier decisions not to extend Watson’s contract as is customarily done for Arkansas superintendents.
For example, see this note from School Board member Jody Carreiro