There have been recent legal developments in the lawsuit seeking to end state control of the Little Rock School District, which should have ended last January.

Circuit Judge Mary McGowan, who had refused the state Board of Education’s motion to dismiss the suit,  last week scheduled a hearing Sept. 25 on the plaintiffs’ motion to have a receiver appointed to oversee the district in place of the state Board of Education.

That, in turn, prompted an appeal by the state to the Arkansas Supreme Court. It asserts the state is constitutionally immune from lawsuit. The plaintiffs have argued that the state has acted illegally in retaining control of the district, an exception to constitutional immunity. The state brief asks for a stay of the hearing on a receiver until the sovereign immunity issue is resolved.

A school board for the Little Rock district is to be elected for the first time in six years in November. But the state Board has placed specific limits on its powers and indicated it will act to impose other limits as it deems necessary. The lawsuit argues this is among the extra-legal actions taken by the state board toward the Little Rock School District.

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In notifying the parties last week of the Sept. 25 hearing, the judge said she was considering both the motion to appoint a receiver and the state’s opposition. But the letter added, “However, the Court would appreciate suggestions as to who would make good candidates to serve as a receiver if the Motion is granted.”

According to records online, the Supreme Court has set a briefing schedule but not yet ruled on the state’s motion Friday for a stay in the Sept. 25 hearing.

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