UPDATE: Joint Budget holds Education Department budget because Key won't talk to LR senators | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

UPDATE: Joint Budget holds Education Department budget because Key won't talk to LR senators

Posted By on Tue, May 3, 2016 at 11:48 AM

click to enlarge WHERE'S JOHNNY: His refusal to communicate with senators leads to a hold on the state Education Department's budget.
  • WHERE'S JOHNNY: His refusal to communicate with senators leads to a hold on the state Education Department's budget.
The Joint Budget Committee was unable to consider the huge Education Department budget this morning because Sens. Joyce Elliott and Linda Chesterfield said Commissioner Johnny Key had not talked to them about their holds on the budget.

Staff members of the Education Department told Chair Larry Teague they were aware of the senators' holds — which arise from unhappiness about Key's firing of Little Rock School Superintendent Baker Kurrus. 

Elliott said she wanted to be contacted by Key, who skipped her session at the Capitol yesterday about the Kurrus issue. Chesterfield said he had not contacted her either.

Teague delayed the item and said the committee would reconvene after the House and Senate adjourn this afternoon. Will Key make an appearance? To date, his public comments have been carefully doled out remarks in friendly settings.

UPDATE: On a related matter, the governor's office is sending a form letter to people complaining about the axing of Kurrus. Short form: You don't know what you're talking about, I know what's best for LR schools.

"While I acknowledge there were many aspects of the announcement that were mishandled, Commissioner Key's decision to change direction in leadership was sound and fair given the broader context of issues the academically distressed district is facing. Commissioner Key is committed to the continued and successful implementation of Baker Kurrus' work in the financial and organizational arenas, and I am confident Michael Poore will bring a solid academic framework as well."  
A firing is a firing. What was "mishandled"? That your PR machine didn't get to spin it first? What does Johnny Key know about academic issues? More dumping on Little Rock from The Hutch.

UPDATE II: The Arkansas Public Policy Panel notes that Key, the de facto Little Rock School Board, is infamous for being unreachable.

 In the 15 months since the state took over LRSD, he has made very few public appearances in the District. He created the LRSD Civic Advisory Council but never met with or never consulted with them - so much so that they called for his replacement last week.

Since firing Superintendent Baker Kurrus for doing his job and standing up for the 25,000 children of LRSD, Mr. Key has not appeared in public to explain his reasoning to Little Rock taxpayers other than a carefully scripted news conference in his offices.

Yesterday lawmakers invited him to a public hearing with 150 residents to explain his thinking and lay out his vision for where LRSD and public education are going, and to take questions from concerned residents and policy makers — but he was too busy to attend. The Little Rock City Council has asked him to appear — again he's too busy for questions and accountability.

While you have the Governor's office on the line, ask them to place a moratorium on charter schools and waivers in Little Rock, and return LRSD to a locally elected school board this year.
UPDATE III: I'm told Key finally met with Elliott and Chesterfield and the budget hold was released. Hope to hear more.

Sen. Elliott called later to say she and Chesterfield had met with Key and talked about several issues, including the takeover and the Kurrus replacement. She continues to be struck by a lack of participation in whatever the state has planned. She said she's never seen such a lack of interest in a whole community as the Hutchinson administration has demonstrated in handling Little Rock schools. Amen to that. Key did disclose that Supt. Mike Poore's pre-decided emphasis on some career-path education includes a plan to put these career "centers" at Hall, McClellan and Fair high schools. This will not look good to some, who'll see putting "career" focus in the most segregated, lowest-achieving high schools as a not-so-subtle form of "tracking."

Tags: , , , , , ,

Sign up for the Daily Update email

Comments (10)

Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Where's the outrage?

    Am I the only person, apart from federal prosecutors, outraged about the criminal enterprise that inveigled itself into a privileged position as an Arkansas taxpayer-financed human services provider to the tune, today, of $43 million a year?
    • Jun 21, 2018
  • Where's the outrage?

    • Jun 21, 2018
  • Rutledge opponent hits her socializing with corporate interests

    Mike Lee, the Democratic candidate for attorney general, has criticized Attorney General Leslie Rutledge over recent reports of her participation at private meetings where corporate interests make big contributions to a political group she heads for access to state legal officers.
    • Jun 21, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Former Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel applauds Trump's EPA choice of climate change denier Scott Pruitt

    Dustin McDaniel gives the thumbs up to a man set to dismantle EPA regulations.
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • The LR chamber does the public's business. Is it accountable? Blue Hog on the case.

    Matt Campbell, lawyer and Blue Hog Report blogger, has sent a Freedom of Information Act request to Jay Chessir, director of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Mayor Mark Stodola related to the publicity stunt yesterday  built around withdrawing from the mayor's rash pronouncement that the city would seek an Amazon HQ2 project even though the city  didn't meet the company's criteria.
    • Oct 20, 2017
  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017

Most Recent Comments



© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation