The Little Rock School Board is convening this afternoon to discuss its upcoming talks with the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE). The district announced the special meeting only around midday.

In its news release, the LRSD said, “the purpose is to hear a presentation by the administration of a preliminary report that will be provided to the Arkansas Department of Education on October 10.”

A meeting about a meeting may sound at least one step removed from newsworthy, but this is an issue worth following closely. Because it has five six schools in “academic distress”, the Little Rock School District is in danger of being taken over by ADE, a decision that would ultimately be made by the State Board of Education (which has a regularly scheduled meeting on Oct. 10, this Friday). However, it’s unlikely the State Board would pull the trigger on a takeover of Arkansas’s largest school district unless the LRSD truly seemed to be failing to make progress on resolving its various troubles, from governance issues to fiscal ones.

In addition to the presentation that will be provided to the State Board and ADE on Friday, Oct. 10, Little Rock officials are also scheduled to meet with the State Board’s Academic Distress Committee on Tuesday, Oct. 14 at 1 p.m.


These discussions between Little Rock and the state will presumably clarify exactly what sort of progress the state expects to see from the LRSD in order to keep a takeover at bay. Tonight’s meeting should give us a sense of where the talks are headed. It will also be the first meeting of the board since new members Joy Springer and Jim Ross were sworn in last week, replacing Norma Jean Johnson and Jody Carreiro, respectively.

Funding for education reporting provided by the Arkansas Public Policy Panel.