|Updated: 4/10/2012 7:28 am
||Published: 4/09/2012 3:41 pm
LITTLE ROCK, AR - The State Board of Education removed two school districts from the fiscal distress list Monday, Forrest City and Earle, but added another three, Brinkley, Hartford, and Western Yell. That means there are now 11 districts total on the state's fiscal distress list, a program Board Chairman Dr. Ben Mays says is working.
"As you've seen today, we've had schools that have been on fiscal distress," explained Mays. "Usually once that happens, they get much more scrutiny from the department and get their spending in line."
Mays says districts can end up on the list because of mismanagement, but that's not typically the case.
"A lot of times these schools are schools that have had unfortunate things happen with student enrollment," he said, "and it's just hard to make adjustments when you lose a lot of students, primarily in staffing."
Brinkley Superintendent Dr. Arthur Tucker says that's what hurt his district.
"That's the whole issue for schools in the delta," he said. "How do we address the issue of being financially solvent when we are constantly losing enrollment?"
Forrest City School District dealt with similar issues, and now that they're no longer in fiscal distress. Superintendent Jerry Woods hopes to keep it that way.
"You can go back on," he said. "You really can go back on, and it can happen much quicker than we realize."
School districts have a two-year window to get things turned around once they're placed on the fiscal distress list. If they don't fix the problems during that time, districts are subject to additional state action. Districts also can't take on any debt without state approval while on fiscal distress.