Residents, city board want return to local control for Little Rock School District

LRSD parents pushing for local control

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - On Tuesday night, the City Board of Directors discussed their support for local control of the Little Rock School District.

This comes after a week after voters decided against a district millage extension that Superintendent Mike Poore claimed would help to upgrade district buildings and build a new high school.

And timing is everything right now for supporters fighting for local control.

Senator Joyce Elliot said before any new laws go into effect later this year, the state can decide to hold an election for a new board. But the question is, will that be decided and if so when?

“These are our kids, these are our schools. We've put all of our flesh and blood and money into these schools,” said Jim Ross, a supporter of local control.

In January 2015, the Arkansas Board of Education voted 5-4, effectively taking control of the district. The school board was removed immediately.

“The state is simply in the way,” Ross said.

He was a member of that board in 2015 and is also a parent of kids in the district.

"The process of local control would be them giving us our local school board back, that way our city could control our schools and tax revenue,” he said.

Ross is concerned that students still aren't receiving the direction and instruction needed for better academic performance and test scores.

“Under the current law, the way we get local control back is that we've got to get three schools still in distress, out of distress,” he added.

Those three schools are Cloverdale Middle School, Henderson Middle School, and Hall High School.

“The people who know best are the teachers and parents in our city,” said Ross.

The State Board of Education has given no indication on when they would consider allowing a new school board to be elected.

"In July a new law will go into effect that gives the State Board of Education far greater latitude. At that point they could release us from control and put us back in control of our own schools. If they did that, we could have elections in November,” Ross said.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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