The state Board of Education will have a special meeting at 9 a.m. Friday in the board meeting room and the meeting will be streamed on the web. What is it about?
Shortly before close of business the department disclosed the meeting will be about the future of the Little Rock School District and the board will hear a proposed “framework” for the future. Details? You’re kidding, right?
A 2:50 p.m. e-mail said the agenda would be posted at this link. When I noted it was not available, Kimberly Mundell responded, “It’s being finalized.”
Is it about the Little Rock School District, I asked? No answer.
At 4:35 p.m. still no information.
The Community Advisory Board to the Little Rock district, currently operating under the control of Education Commission Johnny Key, meets later this afternoon and a portion of the meeting is devoted to a discussion of state control. The state Board is moving toward a decision on what to do about the district when it is expected that final standardized test scores released next month will indicate some schools are still not hitting targets that the board deems are sufficient to be considered out of academic distress. At the end of five years of state control in January, the state board must “reconstitute” the district, though much debate exists about the meaning of that statutory word.
Lindsey Millar will be at the community advisory board meeting. It is a board without power. It was appointed by the board (whose members are in turn appointed by the governor) and thus is viewed by many district activists as reflective of Hutchinson administration philosophy toward the district.
Key questions in the days ahead include whether Little Rock will again be allowed to elect a school board and, if so, when an election would be held. Then would come the question of interim control. Would there be an appointed board? Could appointees run for board positions? Would the state Board put more limits on board power (such as superintendent firing) given other school boards? Would the state retain some supervisory power over schools with lowest academic standing?
Generally speaking, state law gives broad discretion to the state Board on decisions about Little Rock or any public school district.
UPDATE: Little Rock Superintendent Mike Poore said in response to my question that he believed the meeting would be about Little Rock.
UPDATE II: Shortly before 5 p.m., the state board agenda was posted and the information packet said, in its entirety, related to LRSD:
Consideration of Little Rock School District Reconstitution framework
The State Board of Education directed the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to draft a framework to serve as a starting point for ongoing planning for the future of LRSD. The DESE will present a framework for the State Board’s consideration and approval.
Presenter: Lori Freno
I’ve made an FOI request for the draft framework. Get the smelling salts if I receive it before tomorrow’s meeting.
This is a crappy way to run a school district, but that’s been the story with state control for five years. A huge number of people who are vitally invested in the school district got a 16-hour notice of a critical meeting and NO advance information about what form the failed state bureaucrats have in mind now.