LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Different key players in the fate of the Little Rock School District are reacting to the city's proposal to allow full, local control of LRSD.
This comes 24 hours after the announcement by Mayor Frank Scott Jr. and the City Board of Directors.
People from every side of the debate are voicing their opinions on the Mayor's proposal for LRSD.
"I appreciate him trying to do it, but I do have a lot of reservations and concerns about the Mayor's plan," parent of an LRSD student, Veronica McClane said.
She said a "transition board" with both state and local members, isn't the answer.
"I don't want city government running the Little Rock School District. I understand this is supposed to be a compromise, but again, we don't need to be making compromises on the education of our children," McClane said.
Dr. Anika T. Whitfield, Grassroots Arkansas Co-Chair, said many of them don't agree with how the city would choose transitional board members.
"An appointed board is not local control. That is the state still having ownership, still having oversight, still managing the Little Rock School District," she said.
Democratic Sen. Linda Chesterfield weighed in on the city's proposal and told THV11 on the phone, “The Mayor’s heart is in the right place and he is proposing a plan, which is what the school district needs.”
The state board of education also reacted to the Mayor's plan on Tuesday.
"I appreciate Mayor Scott’s proposal and thoughtful approach to a very difficult issue. This is the kind of input the State Board members hoped to receive when they asked for community feedback on the next steps for LRSD. I am open to having conversations with the State Board about the proposal to find areas of agreement while balancing the responsibility of the state," said Secretary Johnny Key.
Arkansas Board of Education Chairwoman Diane Zook reacted specifically to the Mayor's idea of a transition board.
"The Community Advisory Board has been functioning for three plus years. They know the finances and the policies. I see no reason to replace them when they have done three plus years of work with a temporary board that has served less than a year,” she said.
LRSD Superintendent Mike Poore said the district appreciates the Mayor's proposal for unity.
"We appreciate Mayor Scott’s intent to increase collaboration and unity through his proposal regarding LRSD. My biggest hope is that the concept of collaboration will be the main thrust of conversation at Thursday’s board meeting," he said in a statement.
Rounding it all out, Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) voiced his opinion.
"It is always good news when the City is supportive of the School District. It takes many partners for schools to be successful and for students to thrive in their education, but under our Constitution, the state has the ultimate responsibility. I am confident that the members of the State Board of Education will carefully evaluate the Mayor’s proposal in light of the recently released preliminary test results and grades for each school in the Little Rock School District as they discuss the framework in the upcoming meeting,” he said in a statement.
At the end of it all, LRSD parents just want back what was once theirs.
"We are so sick of screaming loudly for this, asking nicely, begging and pleading, and getting no response," McClane said.
Mayor Frank Scott Jr.'s office reacted to the comments made by Education Secretary Johnny Key.
"Mayor Scott believes a school district under full, local control is best for Little Rock's future and that of its most precious assets, our students. He is encouraged by Secretary Key's positive comments about the plan and openness to have discussions with the State Board of Education (SBE) to identify areas of agreement. Mayor Scott is also grateful for the community's positive feedback and hopeful that the SBE will approve this alternative proposal, which centers on the best interest of Little Rock's children and ensures they remain the top priority throughout this process. He looks forward to continuing his discussions with Secretary Key and Governor Hutchinson so that the Board will take up and pass this proposal," he said in a statement.
On Thursday, the State Board of Education will meet again to vote on its reconstitution plan for LRSD and the dissolution of the Little Rock Teacher's Union.
Then on Friday, the board will have another meeting where it will accept public comment.