LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Little Rock School District began day one of its new and free era Friday, with local control returned after being under state direction for the past six years.
Finally out of the grips of the state board of education, district officials have big dreams and a lot of facilities to take care of to set students up for success.
School and Little Rock officials gathered Friday to say the partnership between the city and district is not over because the district is now on its own, saying instead that it is just beginning.
After the press conference, there was a 2.5-hour working session for the board, much of it focused on facilities within the district.
The district is looking to hopefully make about $128 million in renovations, the bulk of which – $85 million according to district plans – will go towards a K-8 facility at the former McClellan High School.
Other potential upgrades are LED lighting throughout the district’s buildings and stadiums, new security cameras districtwide and roof replacements at many of the district’s schools.
Superintendent Michael Poore said he excited the district can now handle its own business and that the state finally saw LRSD trending upward.
“We are at a place right now whereby clearer criteria on ideas and systems that are in place, this district is moving in the right direction, and I hope that gives confidence to all of this community,” Poore noted.
Other, more lofty hopes of projects to tackle are replacing playgrounds and classroom furnishings across the district, an effort that would cost approximately an extra $11 million.
It has to get paid for, though, so a potential tax levy proposal was discussed, as well as what timeline to get such a plan on the November ballot would look like.