Greg Adams, former Little Rock School Board president and co-chair of the current district citizens advisory committee, issued this statement on the removal of Baker Kurrus as district superintendent:
I am deeply disappointed with the decision by Commissioner Key to not extend the contract for Superintendent Baker Kurrus. Baker (a testament to him that nearly everyone calls him by his first name) took the hardest job in the city and has overachieved. He and his team have made huge strides in reorganization, budget reform and teamwork at all levels in the district, and the positive results are showing. His obvious passion for children, honesty, willingness to listen and learn, hard work and commitment have won respect and support all across the community. So many things are better and on a better track now than when he took the job.
The job of superintendent needs a great politician in the best sense of the word—one who can relate to and manage many different stakeholder concerns. Baker has been a great politician, but perhaps in the end, the loss of his position is at least partially due to his commitment to be an honest politician. I worry about plans put in place like construction of a new high school in southwest Little Rock, the new west Little Rock middle school, sensible personnel reorganization and more. And I worry about how this decision will impact recent community engagement efforts.
It is a sad day for the LRSD and for Little Rock, and the Commissioner and Governor (in our current governance situation) have much work to do to demonstrate true faithfulness to the students, families and staff of the LRSD and to the broader Little Rock community. In my perspective in this regard, they have woefully underachieved.
The citizens advisory committee never had — nor was it intended to have — much clout. I wonder now about its future.
PS: The state’s abrupt removal of an achieving superintendent because the Hutchinson administration didn’t like uncomfortable questions he raised about segregation caused by galloping charter school expansion WILL be an additional point in the pending civil rights lawsuit over the district takeover.