I don’t guess I should have expected better from the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce than “concern” on the Hutchinson administration’s undeserved ouster of Baker Kurrus as Little Rock school superintendent. Its statement:
The Little Rock Regional Chamber was surprised and concerned to learn that the state would not extend the contract of Baker Kurrus, Superintendent of the Little Rock School District, beyond its June 30th expiration date. Mr. Kurrus worked diligently and unselfishly for the students of the Little Rock School District, and we hope that he remains engaged with the continued forward progress of the LRSD. On behalf of the business community, we applaud his efforts, his selfless service, and the excellent results he’s achieved during his brief tenure as the district’s leader. His impact has been immensely positive, and he has set the district on a new and better path. He didn’t need to take this job, but he willingly accepted it in order to better our community and gave it everything he had. His efforts should be used as a foundation for continued progress by the district. A stable, high-performing LRSD is critical to the economic future of our region and our overall health long-term. The Little Rock Regional Chamber will continue to be a staunch advocate for positive change in our public education system.
I might have said there was no cause for the change and that the chamber wanted answers on the future direction of the district, specifically whether it includes implementing the Walton/Hutchinson administration’s past ideas to put some or all of the district under private management. I might also ask if the administration has anything to offer on when Little Rock voters get their school district back. This is the kind of leadership your taxpayer dollars were supporting until a lawsuit upset the chamber’s welfare apple cart. They hope to get it back with a Republican-sponsored constitutional amendment on the ballot in November.
Sen. Joyce Elliott commented to David Ramsey on the business community:
“The other group that I can’t give a pass to, who have said nothing—when we were talking about taking over this district, the business community came down in spades.They said they just wanted Little Rock to have a stable school district and a school district that was doing well, so that the business climate could be one that could be successful in Little Rock. When we had the issue with the charter schools that would clearly destabilize [the district] they said nothing. Not one of them showed up to support Baker. These are the same people who said that the best thing to happen to this school district was Baker Kurrus. These were there words. They have been mum on all this chaos now moving forward.
It is up to the business community to step up and defend this school district and defend what they said they wanted – some stability. It’s totally dismissive of this community. Totally dismissive.”