Mayor Frank Scott Jr. and eight of the 10 members of the Little Rock City Board have announced an 11 a.m. news conference to “announce a proposal to return LRSD to local control.”
No specifics of that proposal are given.
The announcement says Scott will be joined by:
Ward 1 Director Erma Hendrix
Ward 2 Director Ken Richardson
Ward 3 Director Kathy Webb
Ward 4 Director Capi Peck
Ward 5 Director Lance Hines
Ward 6 Director Doris Wright
Vice-Mayor/Ward 7 Director B.J. Wyrick
At-Large Director Joan Adcock
Missing from the list are At-large Directors Gene Fortson and Dean Kumpuris. Ken Richardson wasn’t on the original list that I first posted. His name has now been added. ALSO: Frank Scott said on Twitter later that the missing directors had other commitments, otherwise all would have been present.
Apart from two people who work for organizations supported by Walton Family Foundation contributions, support for the state-announced framework has been virtually non-existent. Meanwhile, a strong grassroots effort has been mustered against the plan to give less than full control to a new, larger school board and to create a three-part district of haves, have-nots and who-knows-what. The state board also is moving to oust the Little Rock Education Association as personnel representative for teachers and to insure a personnel policy committee election that works against an organized teacher effort to elect members.
Scott has said, without further specifics, that he’s always favored a return to local control. But he was elected with editorial support from a long-time LRSD critic and charter school supporter on the editorial pages of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and significant financial support from Republican contributors. The school plan now before the board is the work of the Republican Hutchinson administration and his board appointees.
Among the directors joining him today are a range of past actions — some supported the ouster of the last school board,, some have been vigorous supporters of a return to full local control and others haven’t had a lot to say.
Should be interesting.
Location: City Hall rotunda.
The Jay Barth plan is a preferred alternative. The former Board of Education member has suggested full autonomy for the district with continued special monitoring by the state of the schools most in need.
EARLY SPECULATION: Some are predicting announcement of a plan to have an interim school board, until elections in November 2020, appointed jointly by the city and state. That would not amount to local control, of course and the math of appointments will be interesting. The Beebe plan of appointing one pro-charter member to the state Board and one pro-public school member proved fraught. Also: What would an appointed board’s power be? Does the city have anything to say about the state’s proposed “framework” or the ouster of the teacher’s union? Soon we’ll see.
You can probably guess safely that there’ll be talk of the “community school” concept, where health, nutrition and after-school activities expand the reach of neighborhood schools as supporting institutions for family. It is a great concept. It will take lots of money and partners.