Andrew Bagley, who sits on the advisory committee to the Helena-West Helena School District, currently under state control, tells me Circuit Judge Chris Morledge has ruled against his wife Sandra Bagley’s lawsuit to block the sale of a vacant public school, Beechcrest Elementary, to the KIPP charter school organization.
The advisory board had voted repeatedly that they opposed the sale. Education Commissioner Tony Wood, acting as the school board in receivership, approved the sale for $50,000, or about 78 cents a foot. Bagley said lawyers would talk about an appeal, but pending legislation to ease charter school purchase of vacant school facilities might make such an appeal moot.
Bagley says, “This could happen in Little Rock, too.” Indeed. Bagley recently argued to the state Board of Education that the Helena district should be released from fiscal distress classification because finances had approved and the district had a growing fund balance.