This report is offered as an update on the ongoing situation around the Little Rock School District which was taken over by the State Board of Education over two years ago. In a recent meeting (April 2017), board members attempted to spur conversation about a plan to return the district to local control. At that time, the governor and commission or education have rejected those recommendations although the commissioner did state that he was committed to returning the school to local control.
Senator Joyce Elliot (D-Little Rock) spoke against the recent announced closure of schools in primarily African-American neighborhoods. She also noted that the state had taken control of the district when 45 of its 48 schools were not in academic distress thus raising questions as to the state decision and potential agenda. This point is particularly notable given legislature recently passed to give first rights of refusal to charter schools for the sale of unused education facilities. Additional speakers at the meeting noted that Little Rock citizens were frustrated and expressed a desire for return of the district to local control. In counterpoint, additional conversation at the meeting contended that the school district was struggling and the takeover was necessitated.
At the end of the meeting, it appears status quo is still firmly entrenched regarding the status of the Little Rock School District.