LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – It’s been five years since the Little Rock School District was taken over by the State Board of Education on the grounds of academic distress.
At the time there were only six of the districts, 41 schools that received failing grades.
Former board member and superintendent Baker Kurrus doesn’t think that the district has done a great job of guiding LRSD.
“It’s been a dumpster fire, it’s been essentially a disaster. The State has breached its obligations, it’s failed to recognize conflicts of interest, it’s taken an academic exercise and turned it into a political exercise.”
Another former board member, Jim Ross, thinks the State has not only hurt LRSD schools but also the city of Little Rock.
“You can not continue to put children on the street who can’t read, can’t think, who don’t have skills to function in a modern economy and think we’re not gonna see a rise in crime, of desperation, of broken families, of broken homes. This community is in a lot of trouble and we don’t know that yet.”
The State Board has a plan in place to return local control to LRSD and will have elections for a nine-member school board next November.
Commissioner Johnny Key said in a statement, “Over the last five years, many positive changes have positioned the Little Rock School District for a return to local control. For example, a new, much-needed middle school was opened in west Little Rock, a new high school in the southwest part of the city is being built without the need for a millage increase, both teacher salaries and graduation rates have increased, and student achievement levels have improved. The State Board and department celebrate these successes and have put things in motion to return the district to local control after a local board is elected this November. While the last five years have posed many challenges, I am confident that the Little Rock School District is in a better position today to be successful in the future.”