State has no plan for Little Rock School District — yet | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, February 12, 2015

State has no plan for Little Rock School District — yet

Posted By on Thu, Feb 12, 2015 at 11:52 AM

No, Education Commissioner Tony Wood told the state Board of Education today, the department does not yet have a plan in place for the former Little Rock School District or the six academically distressed schools that led to state takeover. But he said the department is working on it.

This follows Interim Superintendent Dexter Suggs' own admission in answer to questions that he had no plan of action when the district was taken over, but hoped to have one soon.

In removing the Little Rock School Board and asserting state control in a 5-4 vote, the Board faulted a failure to act to improve the distressed schools although the then-School Board had presented a detailed action plan for the six. Advocates of takeover said the School Board was the problem, not Suggs or others.

The State Board today was set to remove a number of schools and districts from state control for improving their academic results — the Strong-Huttig and Lee County districts and Augusta High School, Fordyce High School, Marvell-Elaine High School, Harris Elementary in Pulaski County, Osceola High School and Jacksonville High School.

There was agreement on all but Lee County, which cleared the academic distress label by scoring a 49.513 proficiency rate for all its students, barely over the 49.5 standard. (The Little Rock School District exceeds that standard as a whole, but not in the six targeted schools.) Lee County remains on a fiscal distress watch and Chairman Sam Ledbetter said he didn't want to move quickly on Lee County without more information. The Board seems in favor of returning local control, but a vote was delayed until March, still in time for election of a new School Board in September.

The Board ended a distress rating for the Forest Heights Middle School in Little Rock because it has been reconfigured as a STEM school.

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